Flu Season is Coming - The Shots are Here

Oct 26, 2021

FREE Flu Shots at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy, Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm for a limited time only.

By Barret Procyshyn, Pharmacist & Vaccinator at Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

While the COVID-19 vaccine remains popular, we have now moved into autumn, and at the pharmacy that means a busy flu-shot season. We received our vaccine supply last week and have already administered over 250 doses to Dauphin residents living in assisted and senior's living complexes. So far, the process has been very positive and well received.

Flu shots are now available at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy for anyone aged seven and up. To help vaccinate as many people as possible we are using the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy annex (the blue-gray building in the pharmacy parking lot) for a walk-in only clinic. We may transition to an appointment system later in the season, but for now between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm you can go to the annex for a free flu shot. Its quick, efficient and convenient.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by an RNA viral infection. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches and fatigue. Please note influenza is not a cause of what we refer to as the "stomach flu". Transmission of the flu occurs mainly from droplets while someone coughs or sneezes. These droplets have been shown to travel up to six feet. Influenza types A and B cause the most severe illness.

The vaccine is updated every year to target circulating strains in the world. Shifts in the virus are what can cause pandemics because the body cannot recognize the illness well enough to fight it off easily. Vaccine effectiveness varies depending on which strains appear in North America. The flu shot we are using for 2021-2022 is the Afluria vaccine, which contains inactivated virus. It is a quadrivalent vaccine protecting against two stains of Influenza A, including H1N1 and two stains of Influenza B. The manufacturer states protection from influenza occurs in two to three weeks.

Vaccine side effects include shoulder pain, injection site redness and maybe some swelling. Muscle pain, fever and fatigue, headache occur sporadically. From what we have seen so far, the flu shot is tolerated quite well. Most only experience a sore shoulder for a short period. Health Canada is now allowing the flu vaccine to be provided at the same time at the COVID-19 vaccine, which is possible to do at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy if you have a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

While Health Canada has a goal set of getting 80% of Canadians vaccinated, we do not get anywhere near that. While last year was a record year for the flu shot increasing by more than 5%, we only got to about 32% of Manitobans vaccinated. We can do better. If you worry about your health or someone else's get the flu shot to stop the spread and severe illness.

While influenza is nowhere near as deadly or as debilitating as COVID-19, it has significant negative impact on the health of Canadians. Influenza is directly responsible for worsening asthma, leads to ear and sinus infections or bronchitis and pneumonia. It can even trigger heart attacks and progress heart disease. Those with underlying conditions and frailty make them more vulnerable to the influenza virus, with up to 20 times of the risk of death when influenza infects someone with heart and lung conditions. Hospitalization most commonly occurs in older adults, and this can cause a loss of independence and functional decline.

As mentioned, the walk-in clinic in the DCP annex has proven to be quick, safe and convenient. To help us out, please wear a short sleeve shirt under a jacket which is easy to remove. Bring your Manitoba Health Card and ensure you are not showing any symptoms of COVID-19. We will answer any questions you may have and will guide you through the process. Enter the Annex on the north side of the building. It is wheelchair accessible and please be cautious of traffic in the parking lot. While you are waiting after your vaccine you can browse our new seasonal retail items or pick up some necessities in the store. Finally, do not delay in getting the flu shot. We only have limited stock supply and may not be able to order additional supply.

Like COVID, you might not think the flu will have a very large impact on your health. However, you must think about elderly family members and immune compromised friends. Get the shot, not the flu, because if even if you are not scared of it, you should be scared to share it. Talk to your clinic pharmacist if you have questions or concerns.


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