Free flu shots now available to Islanders

Islanders are now able to get the flu shot for free.

Flu vaccination clinics will be held around the Island in October, November and December

Clinics for the flu vaccine started Monday in P.E.I. (Tony Talbot/AP)

Islanders are now able to get the flu shot for free.

Flu vaccination clinics started Monday in Montague, P.E.I., and Charlottetown, and will be held over the next three months in communities across the Island.

This is the first year P.E.I. residents will get the flu shot without any extra charges, a move announced as part of the province's 2017-18 spring operating budget.

$10 fee for non-residents

To get the flu shot for free, Islanders should bring their PEI Health Card with them to the clinic. Those living on P.E.I., but residing in another province, will have to pay a $10 administration fee for the shot. Non-Canadian residents will have to pay $40 for the shot.

The flu shot clinics are on a walk-in basis. Islanders can call 1-855-354-4358 (4FLU) to find out about dates, times and locations.

Islanders can also contact their pharmacist, family physician or nurse practitioner to arrange a flu shot.

Doses will also be made available for patients and staff in other health-care facilities, including private long-term care homes and community-care facilities.

Employees who receive the vaccine through a workplace immunization program can't be charged a fee, according to the new policy, but the employer can be charged for administration of the vaccine by a private provider, and that cost will not be covered by the province.

$600K cost to province

The initiative comes with a price tag of $600,000.

P.E.I. Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson has said he hopes it will raise immunization rates — currently around one third of Islanders — to 50 per cent.

With files from Mitch Cormier and Kerry Campbell