FREDERICTON (GNB) – The seasonal flu vaccine is now available in the province.

“Vaccination is recognized as the single most effective way of reducing the impact of seasonal influenza,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eilish Cleary. “Those most at risk of developing complications are encouraged to be vaccinated this fall.”

A new vaccine must be administered each year since the seasonal flu vaccine is adjusted annually to reflect changes in the viruses that are circulating.

Seasonal influenza poses serious health risks to the elderly, the very young, and those with weakened immune systems or other chronic health conditions. The Department of Health funds flu vaccine for those at high risk of complications from influenza, as well as their household contacts, including:

●    adults and children with chronic health conditions as per the National Advisory Committee on Immunization's recommendations for the 2012-13 influenza season:
    ○    cardiac or pulmonary disorders (including bronchopulmonary dysplasia, cystic fibrosis and asthma);
    ○    diabetes mellitus and other metabolic diseases;
    ○    cancer, immune compromising conditions (due to underlying disease and/or therapy);
    ○    renal disease;
    ○    anemia or hemoglobinopathy;
    ○    conditions that compromise the management of respiratory secretions and are associated with an increased risk of aspiration;
    ○    morbid obesity (BMI greater than 40); and
    ○    children and adolescents with conditions treated for long periods with acetylsalicylic acid.
●    people of any age who are residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities;
●    people aged 65 years and older;
●    healthy children six months to 18 years of age;
●    all pregnant women;
●    Aboriginal people;
●    people capable of transmitting influenza to those at high risk:
    ○    household contacts (adults and children) of individuals at high risk of influenza-related complications (whether or not the individual at high risk has been immunized);
    ○    household contacts of children (newborns to 59 months of age);
    ○    members of a household expecting a newborn during the influenza season.

Children aged six months to 18 years, people aged 65 years and older and pregnant women can receive the publicly-funded flu vaccine from either the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) or their family physician or nurse practitioner. Children aged six months to 59 months can receive the publicly-funded vaccine from their local Public Health office. Other eligible recipients can receive the vaccine from their health-care provider.

The influenza vaccine is also strongly recommended for health care workers who are at risk of spreading the virus to high-risk populations.

For information about influenza vaccine clinics, call your family physician, nurse practitioner, VON, pharmacist or your local Public Health office.

LINK:

●    Flu information