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Ottawa Public Health Service expects more cases of influenza in Ottawa this winter

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Ottawa-Although last year’s flu season was almost nonexistent, Ottawa Public Health expects more cases of flu this year.

“It’s always difficult to predict the flu season, but we expect to see more cases than last year,” said Marie Claude Turcot, Ottawa Public Health Immunization Manager.

“Some public health measures have been relaxed, allowing people to reach more people. Masks, physical distances and hand washing are definitely helpful, but more can be expected. “

Last year’s flu season, Ottawa Public Health reported only three cases of flu identified in the lab. Usually, the number jumps to 700-800.

OPH’s low numbers last winter are due to people working at home during the absence of blockades, masking, indoor meals and rallies.

“These measures are very good at preventing the flu,” says Turcot.

OPH will be hosting a free influenza vaccination clinic this fall when supplies are available. The city receives influenza vaccine from the state. The flu vaccine is available to everyone in Ontario for more than 6 months.

“We will start distributing it to long-term care and hospitals this week and next week, followed by retirement homes and clinics, which are for high-risk patients,” said Turcot.

“It is the state that determines when we can start inoculating the general public and it all depends on the stock of vaccines. We need to make sure we have enough to meet the demand. This year is scheduled for early November. We can provide the flu vaccine to the general public. “

Pharmacists are also involved in the development of influenza vaccination. Pharmacist Jordan Clark says it’s already in demand.

“Some people asked when flu shots would be available as early as August. We recommend that you register online. You will be notified that flu shots will be available online or You can make a reservation by bringing it in. ” Clerk.

According to Clark, the number of people vaccinated against the flu surged last year.

“Last year, the number of people vaccinated against influenza has definitely increased. Many people were new to influenza vaccination, so there was a clear message last year. I think the message is there. Also.”

Clark says flu shots can help prevent increased hospitalization during the fourth wave of COVID-19.

“We’ve been talking about vaccines since April and I think it’s at the forefront of people’s minds. We can clog emergency rooms and ICUs and do harm to high-risk people. I don’t want to, “Clark said in an interview with CTV News Otawa.

He says he is not worried about getting a flu shot with the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The National Immunity Advisory Board (NACI) says that there is no timeline requirement between the two (vaccines), so they can be brought closer, especially the opportunity to proceed with a third dose. In some cases, it’s good news for everyone. He says it might be seen in winter. “

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