By Robert Frank
Laval’s heath care authority is urging residents to get inoculated with the latest influenza vaccine as soon as possible.
Last year Laval was hit hard—and unusually early—by the flu during the holiday period, overloading the Cité de la santé superhospital after some 30 people whose lives were in danger had to be admitted.
“We’re reminding residents of the risks and urging them to go and get vaccinated,” Laval heath care authority spokeswoman Stéphanie Daignault told The Suburban in an interview.
“Flu spreads easily and getting a vaccine is the best way to prevent transmission and protect yourself against influenza and its complications,” Daignault reminded. “It lets your body make its own antibodies to fight the flu.”
“Even if you got a flu shot last year, everyone should go again,” she said. “You have to get vaccinated each year, because the influenza virus constantly changes and last year’s immunization might not work. Health care scientists track the mutations and update the composition of the flu vaccine accordingly each year.”
The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that everyone over six-months-old do so annually.
Laval’s health care authority has arranged to provide free flu shots for those at greatest risk:
• Children six to 23 months and their families
• The chronically ill
• Anyone with cardiopulmonary or renal illnesses, cancer, diabetes, asthma or a suppressed immune system
• Anyone aged 60 and over
• People who interact closely with at-risk individuals
• People who interact closely with babies aged less than six months
• Healthy women pregnant 13 weeks or more
• Health care workers
The inoculations will be done at the Marigot, Mille Îles and Ste. Rose CLSCs, as well as first line medical services centre on Dagenais West. Those over 65 and the chronically ill will also be offered a free Pneumovax shot to prevent against dangerous respiratory infection.
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