Flu vaccines on the way to primary health care providers

(File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / casanowe)

Primary health care providers that plan on delivering the annual flu shot should have their allotment by the end of the week.

The Windsor Essex County Health Unit is starting to distribute flu vaccines to area practices. The health unit is not responsible for distributing vaccines to pharmacies, that’s done on a provincial level.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed is encouraging everyone in the community to get the flu shot, especially those who are high risk.

“The vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, colds or other respiratory illnesses that may be mistaken for influenza but they are not caused by the influenza virus. Still, it would reduce the hospitalization, need for health care services and overall decrease the burden of disease in our community,” said Dr. Ahmed.

Every year in Canada, about 3,500 deaths are linked to the influenza virus or about 1 per cent of confirmed flu cases.

Last year there were about 200 confirmed cases of influenza in Windsor-Essex and no deaths linked to the virus. Ahmed said many people who experience flu-like symptoms at home will never get tested for the virus but it`s estimated about 10-20 per cent of the Canadian population are infected with the flu each year.

So far in 2020, 9,800 people with COVID-19 have died in Canada, about 5 per cent of COVID-19 cases in the country.