Saskatoon health region says it's not too late to get flu shot

There's been a surge of flu cases in Saskatoon, and that's prompted the health region to encourage people to get the vaccine for it.

Health Region says recent surge in flu cases due to later start in flu season

flu shot (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

Got your shot yet?

The Saskatoon Health Region says it should be at the top of your to-do list because of a recent spike in cases.

This surge is prompting the health region to encourage people to get the vaccine. 

Dr. Simon Kapaj, the health region's deputy medical health officer, explained to Danny Kerslake on Saskatoon Morning why the region is seeing more flu cases now. 

Actually, in the last four days we have seen a sharp increase of 44 cases, as of yesterday.- Dr. Simon Kapaj, Saskatoon Health Region

"We have seen a significant increase in the last two weeks. Actually, in the last four days we have seen a sharp increase of 44 cases, as of yesterday," he said. 

That jump, he said, is happening now because this year's flu season is starting later compared with last year's flu season, which saw spikes towards the end of December and the beginning of January. 

In terms of the vaccination rate, he said this year's vaccination rates are comparable with previous seasons, and don't necessarily account for the rise in influenza cases.

"The flu rate is similar this year, from the clinical presentation. However, the good thing is we have a strain, which is called H1N1, and this strain is actually contained in this year's vaccine, " he said.

H1N1 is the predominant strain, and the vaccine for this year is a closer match than previous seasons.- Dr. Simon Kapaj, Saskatoon Health Region

What that means if you've already had a flu shot vaccination is that you're likely protected for the specific strains in the current vaccine, Kapaj said.

He added that "H1N1 is the predominant strain, and the vaccine for this year is a closer match than previous seasons for H1N1."

Nor is it too late to get vaccinated, if you haven't. That's especially true for people in the "susceptible population: people that have chronic health conditions, pregnant women, seniors and young kids. They'll be groups that benefit more from immunization in this case," he said. 

Kapaj said he expected the peak of this flu season to be reached by the third or fourth week of February. He cautioned that we'll still be seeing cases through March and possible April.

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