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Flu shot now available to all Ontarians – Global News

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The flu shot is now widely available to all Ontarians over the age of two through their doctor and nurse practitioner offices, pharmacies and public health units.

Those between the ages of six months and two years can get a flu shot from a doctor, nurse practitioner or local public health unit.

Read more:
Flu shots now available for high-risk Ontario residents before wider rollout in November

“Timing and availability of doses may vary slightly depending on the location so Ontarians are encouraged to check with their local pharmacy, family physician or provider in advance,” a spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott told Global News in an email.

On Oct. 19, the province announced it had purchased 7.6 million flu vaccine doses for this winter, an increase of 1.4 million over last winter. The total price tag for this year’s allotment was $89 million.

“The annual flu shot is the best defence against the flu this season,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s medical officer of health in a release at the time of the announcement.

“As we head into the fall and begin gathering indoors more often with family and friends, it is even more important to get your flu shot, in addition to following public health measures, to protect yourself and those around you.”


Click to play video: 'Health Matters: New study suggests the flu shot can protect kids from severe COVID-19'



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Health Matters: New study suggests the flu shot can protect kids from severe COVID-19


Health Matters: New study suggests the flu shot can protect kids from severe COVID-19 – Feb 18, 2021

In September, the flu shots were distributed to long-term care home residents and hospital patients and when the announcement was made, they were then being distributed to seniors and others most at risk for complications through the flu.

But now anyone can get a flu shot and the province says it has switched up its allocation, providing 40 per cent of doses to pharmacies in an effort to better increase distribution. A year ago, that number was 36 per cent.

Read more:
COVID-19: Halifax pharmacist on why getting the flu shot is more important than ever

“It is safe to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu shot at the same time, so if you’re receiving your flu shot and still have yet to receive a first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, now is the time,”  Elliott stated.

The province says that Ontarians need to be patient as the vaccines arrive in allotments so if a location runs out, it may take time to re-up their supply.

“Ontarians are encouraged to be patient as it may take time for shipments to arrive to their local flu shot locations,” the release stated.

The province says that there were only about 25 per cent of normal cases reported last winter. It did not provide the exact number but did say there were 12,829 confirmed lab cases two winters ago.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Dutch former queen Beatrix tests positive for COVID-19

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Dutch former queen Beatrix, 83, has tested positive for COVID-19, the royal information service RVD said in a statement Saturday.

Princess Beatrix, as she has been known since her abdication in 2013, got tested after coming down with “mild cold symptoms”, the statement said.

“The princess is at home in isolation and adheres to the rules of life for people who have tested positive,” it added.

The Netherlands has been experiencing a record-breaking wave of COVID-19 cases that is threatening to overwhelm the country’s healthcare system.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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‘I was shocked’: Mother, child mistakenly given COVID-19 vaccine instead of flu shot – Comox Valley Record

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A Manitoba mother says a routine appointment for her and her three-year-old to get flu shots ended in frustration and mixed messages after they were each mistakenly given an adult dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Jenna Bardarson is calling for policy changes at the province’s vaccination centres to make sure that doesn’t happen to another family.

The shots were administered on Nov. 24 at the Keystone Centre in Brandon.

Bardarson says that shortly after she and her daughter, Dali, got their shots, the health worker who had given them excused herself to speak with a supervisor. When the worker returned, she told them she had made a mistake and given them both the adult Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say. My immediate concerns were, of course, would my daughter be OK and also who could I speak to about this,” Bardarson said in online social media messages Friday to The Canadian Press.

Once she got home, Bardarson made multiple calls to different departments with the regional medical authority, hoping to speak with someone about the error and her concerns, she said.

She said no one was able to provide her with the answers or information she needed. “The conversations with various Prairie Mountain Health members have been frustrating, to say the least.”

Bardarson said she already had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and was due for her booster shot next month. Her daughter is too young to be eligible.

Health Canada last month approved a pediatric version of the Pfizer shot for children ages five to 11, but it has not yet approved a vaccine for those under five.

Bardarson said she and her daughter had headaches and sore arms the following day. Her daughter had no appetite and was throwing up.

Manitoba Health confirmed the mistake in a statement and said staff from Prairie Mountain have reached out to the mother to discuss what happened as well as to provide an update on an investigation.

“Patient safety is a critical aspect of all health-care services in Manitoba. We are constantly reviewing our processes to ensure that our systems support our staff in preventing errors,” it said.

“In this case … our team reviewed the existing processes to make adjustments that would help avoid a similar error from occurring in the future.”

Bardarson said the health region has not provided her with updated information on the investigation and would not discuss any consequences the health worker may have faced.

Manitoba Health said no further action would be taken against the worker, because she immediately recognized the error and told a supervisor.

For Bardarson, that’s not enough.

“I by no means want her fired; however, there should be some sort of measures in place for harm reduction.”

Bardarson suggested taking away the worker’s injection privileges or enhanced supervision during vaccinations.

She said she would also like to see areas at vaccination centres separated by vaccine types, instead of having different vaccines offered in the same booth.

Manitoba Health could not say if others have been given a COVID-19 vaccine by mistake, but acknowledged that medication errors, although rare, do occur. It added that Bardarson was provided with information about the risks of the COVID-19 vaccine, which in this case it says are low.

Health Canada said it is not in charge of immunization monitoring and could not comment on whether similar mistakes have occurred in other parts of the country.

– Brittany Hobson, The Canadian Press

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Two hippos in Belgian zoo test positive for COVID-19

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Two hippos have tested positive for COVID-19 at Antwerp Zoo in Belgium in what could be the first reported cases in the species, zoo staff said.

Hippos Imani, aged 14, and 41-year-old Hermien have no symptoms apart from a runny nose, but the zoo said the pair had been put into quarantine as a precaution.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time in this species. Worldwide, this virus has been reported mainly in great apes and felines,” said the zoo’s vet, Francis Vercammen.

The coronavirus is thought to have jumped from an animal to a human, and it is proved to have passed from humans to animals.

Pets including cats, dogs and ferrets have become infected following contact with their owners, while in zoos, cases have been reported in animals such as big cats, otters, primates and hyenas.

The disease has also spread in mink farms and to wild animals, such as deer.

Antwerp Zoo is investigating the causes of the contagion. None of the zookeepers had recently shown COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive for the virus, the zoo said.

 

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Helen Popper)

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