1. 1. Timing: It is important to get the flu shot as soon as possible because it takes two weeks to develop protection after getting the shot. The earlier you get it, the sooner you’re protected.
2. 2. Eligibility: All Ontarians should get their flu shot. Unless there is a medical reason not to, everyone aged six months and older can benefit from it. Your pharmacist knows the right questions to ask to make sure that the flu shot is safe for you.
3. 3. Training: Pharmacists who provide the flu shot have received comprehensive training, including first aid and CPR, which allows them to administer the flu shot to anybody over the age of five years.
4. 4. Effectiveness: The flu vaccine is typically 60 to 80 per cent effective in preventing the flu in healthy adults and children, when the vaccine is a good match for the influenza types circulating that season. The flu shot has been shown to reduce the number of doctor visits, hospital visits, and deaths in certain populations.
5. 5. Viral changes: If you got the flu shot last year, it doesn’t mean that you are protected this year. The flu virus often changes from year to year, so the vaccine must be updated to fully protect people. The effects of the flu vaccine can also wear off; therefore you should get a flu shot every year.
6. 6. Protect yourself: Getting a flu vaccine protects you if you are exposed to the virus, stops you from getting very sick, and prevents you from passing the virus on to others.
7. 7. Protect others: The flu is highly contagious. Most people recover from the flu in one week to 10 days, but others may develop serious complications that can send them to the hospital. Don’t put your family and friends at risk.
8. 8. Myths about side effects: Some people feel that the flu shot can give them the flu, but this is untrue because the flu shot does not contain a live virus. Your pharmacist can educate you on what you can expect after getting the flu shot.
9. 9. Accessibility: This year, approx. 2400 pharmacies across Ontario are offering the flu shot.
10. 10. Cost: It’s FREE! The flu shot is provided to you at no cost through the publicly funded Universal Influenza Immunization Program. Just remember to bring your valid Ontario Health Card to your pharmacist.