Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavik October 30, 2012 - 8:37 am

Nunavik starts flu vaccination campaign Nov. 1

New no-needle vaccine available for kids aged two to 17

NUNATSIAQ NEWS

If you live in Nunavik and don’t want to catch the flu this winter, you can get vaccinated against the flu starting Nov. 1, when the Nunavik public health department kicks off its annual vaccination program.

As is the case every year, vaccination is offered free of charge to everyone in Nunavik.

Influenza or flu is a serious infection of the respiratory tract caused by a virus, which circulates primarily from December to April and can be very contagious.

Flu, whose symptoms include fever, fatigue, muscle pain, coughing and headaches, can cause serious complications among babies under the age of six months, who cannot be vaccinated.

The flu vaccine, which reaches its maximum effectiveness roughly two weeks after you get it, protects you for six to 12 months from falling sick with certain strains of the flu. Based on recommendations from the World Health Organization, Canada’s Public Health Agency chooses three strains expected to be the most common for the winter season and includes those strains in the annual vaccine.

This year, a new influenza vaccine is available for children aged two to 17 years in Nunavik: Flumist, a vaccine designed to be sprayed into the nostrils.

This means no needle is used. All that’s required is a dose of spray in each nostril, says the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services.

In Nunavik, flu vaccine is offered to everyone aged six months or older, but some groups are at higher risk of catching or spreading the flu, the health board said in an Oct. 29 news release.

Individuals at high risk of complications include:

• persons aged 60 years or more;

• children in good health aged six to 23 months;

• people, who are older than six months and suffer from a chronic disease;

• residents of extended-care centres (elders’ centres); and,

• pregnant women who are more than 13 weeks pregnant.

Individuals at high risk of spreading the flu include:

• health workers (employees of the health centres, CLSCs, residential centres,  first responders);

• people living with one or more people at high risk of complications;

• workers at child care centres and schools; and,

• workers who provide essential services (police, pilots, flight attendants).

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