Manitoba

Province launches the 2015 flu immunization campaign

Manitoba health Minister Sharon Blady rolled up her sleeve today as part of the province’s launch of their 2015 flu immunization campaign.

The province rolls up it's sleeve for the launch of the 2015 flu immunization campaign

Manitoba health Minister Sharon Blady rolled up her sleeve today as part of the province's launch of their 2015 flu immunization campaign. 0:54

Manitoba health Minister Sharon Blady rolled up her sleeve today as part of the province's launch of their 2015 flu immunization campaign.

This year, health officials have added a fourth strain to the freely-available vaccination, a second type of B virus. Previous vaccines included three virus strains, influenza A H1N1 virus, influenza A H3N2 virus and one B virus.  

"The evidence that we are have so far from what's circulating in other parts of the world is that there is a good chance that we'll see some combination of those two B's we have in the vaccine.  So good expectations that we're going to have some pretty good matches with this vaccine and circulating virus," said Michael Routledge the chief provincial public health officer.

Last year's vaccination fell short on preventing many people from getting sick with the flu.

Flu shot no match for H3N2 strain reported across Canada

During flu season last winter, many Winnipeg emergency rooms were plugged up with people displaying flu-like symptoms. 

Serious flu cases doubling, plugging up Manitoba ERs

"It's always a bit of a guess.  Most years we do pretty well with the predictions. Last year was a very specific year in the sense that they guessed right on the virus but the virus actually mutated during the course from when we started to produce the vaccine to when flu season came along," Routledge added.  "That's an unusual event. In the vast majority of years we have a pretty good match for the vaccine," 

Health Minister Blady who received her vaccination today said it is important for everyone to get vaccinated.  

"It's not about whether you think you are healthy and you'll able to stand up to the flu, it's the fact that if you're vaccinated you might be protecting someone vulnerable whether it's in your own family or somebody that you have contact with," Blady said.

Children ages two to 17 are able to receive a live vaccine to avoid getting a needle.  Vaccines are available through your doctor's office, local public health offices, quick care clinics and pharmacies.  

People wanting to be vaccinated are encouraged to check ahead for the availability of vaccines.  Check the Manitoba influenza website or contact Health Links at 204-788-8200 in Winnipeg or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free) outside of Winnipeg to check clinic dates, times and locations.

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