By Megan Brown
Oct. 19, 2015
Madison Murray skipped her flu shot every year, everyone always ends up getting sick anyways, she figured.
Until last winter. That’s when Murray caught a strain of influenza that landed her in the hospital for a three-day visit.
“I remember thinking, ‘I will never skip my flu shot again if I can just make it out of here alive.’ I thought I was being punished for not getting my shot.”
She did make a full recovery, and when flu season rolled around again, just like she vowed, Murray went and got her flu shot.
“The second I heard I could go get a flu shot, I made my boyfriend take me.”
“I have to admit it hurt a little, but it was nothing compared to how sick I was before. I encourage everyone to get their flu shot.”
Last year in Canada, 98 people were hospitalized for flu-related symptoms and illnesses, while nine died. Flu vaccination clinics began Oct. 13 on P.E.I. Vaccinations are also available through family doctors and local pharmacies as well.
Todd MacKay is the pharmacy manager at Shopper’s Drug Mart. He expects to see an increase in people getting their flu vaccination this year.
“We turned down a lot of people last year because we didn’t have enough. We weren’t given enough by the province to accommodate all the people asking for it, this year we were allocated more.”
Last year on P.E.I, about 48,000 flu vaccines were administered, 10,000 of those in pharmacies. This year 50,000 flu vaccines have been ordered.
“It’s very important to get your flu shot to help prevent the spread and minimize the impact the flu has on our society,” MacKay said.
The influenza virus changes over time as people become immune to it, so the vaccinations change over time as well.
Heather Morrison is P.E.I.’s chief public health officer.
“This year, the anticipation is that it will likely be an influenza B strain that is what we see the most of. But our influenza vaccine has four different strains that it covers. It has two influenza A strains as well as two influenza B strains,” she told the CBC.
Roy Sullivan has been allergic to eggs his entire life, preventing him from being able to receive the flu shot. Sullivan and his family do what he likes to call ‘family immunity.’
“All of my family makes sure to get their flu shots as soon as they’re available. Even though I heard they really hurt your arm,” Sullivan said.
“They’re protecting themselves from several harmful strains of the flu, but also protecting me from them while I can’t.”
For more information on influenza and vaccination clinics, visit http://www.gov.pe.ca