Getting the flu shot may help residents make the recognition between having the annual influenza or if they have COVID-19.
Since symptoms are similar, Pharmacist Scott Malek at Sprucewood Pharmacy said getting the shot is a good way to rule out one option.
“With the pandemic going on, it allows for some differentiation in symptoms. If you get the flu shot you’re less likely to experience those symptoms from influenza and it lessens the confusion for diagnosticians.”
Flu clinics began giving flu shots to residents on Monday.
Shots are offered at many locations which can be found on an interactive map on the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) website.
Residents looking to get their vaccination done in Alberta can go to any Alberta Health Services (AHS) Influenza Immunization Clinics or contact their local family doctors or pharmacists.
Most locations have an appointment model to avoid having too many people come into their office.
Approximately 37 per cent more seasonal flu vaccinations have been purchased compared to last year to prepare for an increase in demand in Saskatchewan.
The Alberta government has ordered a record 1.96 million vaccines to assist in protecting the health of Albertans.
Sprucewood Pharmacy usually has lots of patients coming in for flu shots within the first few weeks.
However, they will not see a clear increase in the need of shots until a few weeks later.
“I think the telltale sign is going to be — as we move into week three, week four — if we continue with this flow of patients coming through for it or if it tails off,” said Malek.
Flu shots can be given to anyone six months and older.
Children age six months to five years must be immunized at a public health clinic.
Some Pharmacies can give the flu shot to someone in their own home or to residents in group living facilities excluding long term care facilities.
“I think it’s important to recognize that the flu vaccine won’t protect you against the COVID-19 illness,” said Malek.
SHA states that getting vaccinated is especially important for people at high-risk of influenza complications and their caregivers.
Steps to get your shot provided by SHA:
- Call your pharmacy in advance to arrange your immunization, then follow the directions provided by the pharmacy.
- Self-screen for COVID-19 using the online tool.
- Be prepared to be screened by your pharmacy too.
- Wear a mask. Expect your pharmacist will wear one too.
- Wear loose clothing with short sleeves.
- Respect the recommended distancing inside your pharmacy.
Lloyd Connect reached out to AHS for exact vaccination locations but did not receive a response in time of the articles release.