Flu Season is Coming - The Shots Are Here

Oct 18, 2022

FREE Flu Shots at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy for ages 5+, Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 5:00pm from October 17 to October 28.

By Barret Procyshyn, Pharmacist & Vaccinator at Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

Snowflakes have fallen and piles of leaves are everywhere so this only means one thing at the pharmacy. Flu shot season. We received our influenza 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.

The flu shot is now available at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy for anyone aged five and up and the pharmacy is always one of the most popular locations to get it. As in previous years we are using the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy annex (the blue-gray building in the pharmacy parking lot) for a walk-in only clinic. You do not need an appointment and you do not need to call ahead. Until October 28, between the hours of 9:30 am and 5:00 pm Monday to Friday you can go to the annex for a free flu shot. Its quick, efficient, and convenient. If you miss our two weeks of flu clinics, supply permitting you may be able to get it at the pharmacy. Stay tuned for updates by following our Facebook page, watch our top banner on the front page of the Parkland Shopper and listen to 730 CKDM.

Influenza, like COVID-19, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by an RNA viral infection. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches and fatigue. It also presents like COVID-19 so ensure you have some rapid tests and masks available. Influenza is a respiratory illness and 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 annually 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 2022-2023 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. Studies have shown we get about five months of full protection from the vaccine and then it starts to decrease. Medical experts are expecting a difficult flu season; however, it is looking like the vaccine strains in the shot will provide good protection.

Vaccine side effects include shoulder pain, injection site redness and maybe some swelling. Muscle pain, fever and fatigue, headache occur sporadically. Usually, the flu shot is tolerated quite well. Most only experience a sore shoulder for a short period. It is perfectly fine to get the flu shot at the same time as a COVID-19 booster.

While Health Canada has a goal set of getting 80% of Canadians vaccinated, in Manitoba we typically only get to about 30%. If you worry about your health or someone else's get the flu shot to stop the spread and severe illness.

While influenza is usually less severe compared to 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 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.

If you are attending the DCP flu shot clinic or another, wear a short sleeve shirt, 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 DCP Annex on the north side of the building. It is wheelchair accessible. You can wait after your vaccine in the clinic or in the pharmacy. Do not delay in getting the flu shot as we only have limited 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 pass it on. Talk to your clinic pharmacist if you have questions or concerns.

The information in this article is intended as a helpful guide only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice. If you have any questions about your medications and what is right for you see your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional.


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