Health Region concerned about low immunization numbers

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Only 8,460 of the 44,000 residents in the Cypress Health Region have received their free influenza immunizations, raising the possibility of a serious outbreak and putting vulnerable community members at a much higher risk of contracting the disease.

“We know that the better coverage rates that we can get on any kind of immunization provides that greater protection for the community as a whole, so when we’re only seeing 8400 people in a region of 44,000, that’s a small percentage of the population that’s actually covered for influenza,” explained Beth Vachon, CEO, Cypress Health Region.

Vachon noted that even those who do not present symptoms may in fact be carriers of influenza who inadvertently infect those who are least resistant to the virus, such as infants, the chronically ill and the elderly.

“People make the decision not to because they’ve never had the flu, but the less people immunized, the more people who are at risk and particularly our vulnerable community members.”

This year’s vaccination covers the same three strains of flu as last year: the 2009 H1N1 strain, an influenza A called H3N2, and an influenza B component.

The Cypress Health Region hopes to immunize a total of 15,000 residents this flu season. Flu vaccines are still available at no cost to residents of Saskatchewan at the following drop-in clinics, without an appointment, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. or 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

• Maple Creek, Community Health Office, Nov. 10

• Shaunavon, Public Health Office, Nov. 14

• Leader, Community Health Office, Nov. 15

• Ponteix, Ponteix Health Centre, Nov. 16

• Swift Current, E.I. Wood Building, Nov. 18 and 25, Dec. 2 and 9

After these dates, residents may receive an immunization by calling 1-866-786-2510 for an appointment.

Organizations: Cypress Health Region

Geographic location: Ponteix, Saskatchewan, Maple Creek Swift Current

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  • Skeptic
    November 15, 2011 - 15:23

    I agree that immunization is one of the most important things we can do for public health. As a 10 to 70 year old, my own risk may not be that high, but I got vaccinated as the 70 and 80 year old patients I work with are at a high risk. Everyone should get vaccinated, to help their parents, grandparents, and young kids. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The times for vaccinations sure don't help the working guy though. Why not Saturday AND Sunday at the Swift Current Mall - for the entire time it is open? Maybe throw in an evening as well? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Much like donating blood, we all should do it, but free and drop in are made tricky for working folk, when only 9 am to 4 pm, and not even open during lunch hour... Guess the $55 an hour ($110,000 a year) public health nurses can't ever be expected to work over lunch or past 4 eh?