2015 flu vaccine better than last year's, says N.W.T. health official

The flu vaccine now on offer in N.W.T., Nunavut and Yukon, will be more effective than last year's vaccine, says Dr. Kami Kandola, N.W.T.'s deputy chief public health officer.

Territories using vaccine that protects against 4 flu strains, rather than 3

Dr. Kami Kandola, N.W.T.'s deputy chief public health officer, gets a flu shot Wednesday at Northern United Place in Yellowknife. (Randall McKenzie/CBC)

The flu vaccine now on offer in N.W.T., Nunavut and Yukon, will be more effective than last year's vaccine, says Dr. Kami Kandola, N.W.T.'s deputy chief public health officer.

Canadian health officials encourage everyone over the age of six months to get a flu shot, especially people at high risk of flu-related complications and those capable of transmitting the flu virus to people at high risk.

Kandola says this year the Northwest Territories and a number of other Canadian jurisdictions are offering a vaccine that protects against four flu strains, not just three as in previous years.

"This year we're offering a new product," she said. "Basically it protects against two influenza A and two influenza B strains."

Kandola said the effectiveness of this year's vaccine is expected to be better than last year's, due to a better match between the flu strains included in the vaccine and the flu strains currently circulating.

"Only one last year had minimal protection," she said. "But this year, for all four strains they're much better than last year."

The flu shot clinic schedules for N.W.T. communities are available here.

Flu shots are available to all ages at all health centres in Nunavut, and the FluMist nasal spray option is on offer to children aged two to 17.

The FluMist option will also be available for children in Yukon, though the Department of Health and Social Services recommends parents outside Whitehorse call ahead to their community health centre to check if it has arrived.

Yukon's flu shot clinic schedules are available here.

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