A large segment of Saskatchewan’s population will again have access to influenza immunizations, following the arrival of a shipment of FluMist vaccine.
As of January 22, Saskatchewan is expanding availability of the vaccine to all people between two and 59 years of age who are eligible to receive FluMist. The province has received a shipment of 107,000 doses of FluMist nasal vaccine. It is in good order, and the province has been distributing it to health regions.
Saskatchewan’s supplies of injectable vaccine were reserved for infants, pregnant women and persons with compromised immune systems for much of this month. The injectable vaccine will also now be made available to residents 60 and over, if supplies permit.
More injectable vaccine is expected in early February, and will be used for persons who are unable to get vaccinated with FluMist.
“We encourage Saskatchewan people to be vaccinated to protect themselves from illness due to influenza,” deputy chief medical health officer Denise Werker said. “Our goal is to vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.”
FluMist contains the same influenza strains as other flu vaccines used in the Northern Hemisphere this influenza season, including the H1N1 strain. It is licensed for use in Canada for people from two to 59 years of age.
It is not recommended for children under two, pregnant women and people who are immune-compromised. FluMist is also not recommended for health care workers who provide care to patients with severe immune-compromised conditions, who would require hospitalization in a protective environment.
Residents can check health region websites or call the 811 HealthLine to find out when and where vaccinations will be available locally. Health regions will offer vaccinations by appointment or on a drop-in basis, depending on operational needs.
More information on influenza, symptoms and self-care can be found on the Ministry of Health's website.