Protocols prevented last flu season
Last year, the population of Saskatchewan got accustomed to new protocols: wearing masks in public spaces, physically distancing, washing our hands more often than before, and keeping our social circles small – often to our households only.
Those measures, meant to protect us from the spread of COVID-19, proved extremely effective for the prevention of influenza season in Saskatchewan.
“We effectively didn’t have a flu season here last year,” noted Dr. Tania Diener, COVID-19 Immunization Co-Chief, Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) for the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
The portion of the population who received their flu vaccines last year likely contributed to the lack of season.
What will happen this flu season? That’s up to all of us.
“I encourage everyone to receive their flu vaccine this fall, in addition to their COVID-19 vaccine,” Diener noted. “Our hospitals are already under strain due to the number of cases of COVID-19, especially among those who are unvaccinated, due to the new Delta variant. A further influx of people sick with influenza would further strain those resources, so we’re asking everyone to get their flu vaccine again this year.”
New this year, people will be able to book their flu appointment online, or by phone through the SASKVAX line, and those eligible will be able to get their COVID-19 vaccine or boosters at the same time as their flu vaccine. Those looking for both shots only need to make one appointment to receive both vaccines.
“It’s safe to get your flu and COVID shots together,” Diener explained. “We weren’t allowing other vaccinations around the same time as a COVID vaccine earlier in our delivery, because we were waiting on evidence. That evidence has now been received, and says it is safe to do so. So that’s what we’re doing.”
Getting your flu shot this year will be much the same as last year. You will need to make an appointment ahead of time. You’ll be asked to wear a mask - bring a non-medical mask from home or you will be provided a mask at the clinic. Physical distancing measures will be in place, and staff will be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, as well as implementing other necessary infection control practices.
You can find information on flu clinics in your area on the 4flu.ca website.