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Flu shots will be available next week

The province's chief medical officer of health is encouraging Nova Scotians to get one
(stock photo)

The province's chief medical officer of health is encouraging Nova Scotians to get their flu shots.

Around 495,200 doses have been ordered this year, which will start to be offered at most pharmacies and doctor's offices as of Monday, Oct. 25.

At a Tuesday briefing, Dr. Robert Strang said influenza is a completely different virus than the one that causes COVID-19.

"The COVID vaccine will not prevent you from getting seasonal influenza," he explained. 

"You still need your annual flu shot, especially if you work with or spend time with Nova Scotians who are more vulnerable and at risk of getting severely ill from influenza, such as older Nova Scotians, those who are pregnant, or immunocompromised."

There wasn't much flu activity at all in the country last year due to precautions put in place to stop the spread of COVID. Strang said it's too soon to tell how this year will play out, but it's important to be prepared in case there is a resurgence of the virus.

"Every year the flu activity helps boost people's immunity along with the vaccination, so there is the risk that we have less underlying immunity in our communities because we had no flu last year," he explained. 

"That's what our concern is, and it makes it more important that people get their flu shot this year."

The flu shot does not cause the flu.

Symptoms include a sudden high fever, headache, general aches and pains, fatigue and weakness, cough, nasal congestion and sore throat.

Because many of those are the same as COVID symptoms, anyone who experiences them should stay home, do the online COVID assessment, and potentially book a test.

"If you have fever, cough, those types of symptoms, you can't just assume it's influenza," Strang stated. "You need to do the screening and get the test when appropriate."

The province says there are no issues with getting a flu shot before or after a COVID vaccine. Both can even be injected at the same appointment.

Flu season usually starts in late December or early January, but it can take up to two weeks after inoculation for full protection to build up.


Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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