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Hi-Risk Influenza Vaccination Clinics Start October 15th

Pregnant women are now included in Saskatchewan's publicly-funded immunization program which begins Monday, October 15 in Sun Country Health Region (SCHR).

Free immunization is available to all individuals in SCHR who have an increased risk of influenza-related complications. This includes pregnant women, adults over 65 years of age, residents of long-term care facilities, children six months to 23 months of age, and people with certain chronic health conditions.

For children aged 6 to 23 months of age receiving their first influenza immunization a second dose is required one month later and this will be available until March 31, 2008. Please check with your local Public Health Office for these clinic dates.

Pregnant women are encouraged to receive the flu shot. Dr. Shauna Hudson says "Pregnant women are more likely than non-pregnant women to require medical care and hospitalization for flu-related complications, should they develop influenza."

"The influenza vaccine is safe at any stage of a woman's pregnancy," says SCHR's Medical Health Officer, Dr. Shauna Hudson.

Dr. Hudson says it is also important that young children, especially those between six months and 23 months of age, receive the flu shot.
Dr. Hudson reports that children in this age group are more likely to be hospitalized if they get the flu than older children.

If you are interested in receiving a flu shot but are not eligible for the publicly-funded vaccine, talk to your physician or public health nurse about purchasing an influenza vaccination. Starting October 29, local public health offices will also be holding clinics for the general public.

Dr. Hudson recommends "that all Saskatchewan adults receive a flu shot from their public health nurse or physician to protect themselves, their friends and families from influenza this winter and reminds people that frequent hand washing also reduces the spread of influenza."

Residents eligible for the free flu shots will not be reimbursed if they purchase their vaccine outside the public program.

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