Flu shots: coming to a place near you - Macleans.ca

Flu shots: coming to a place near you

Seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccine schedules vary by area, age and health status. Check our provincial guide for details.

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Flu shots: coming to a place near youDeciding whether or not to get the flu shot is never easy—only one in three Canadians do each year. With the H1N1 vaccine being rolled out in a few weeks, the decision is even tougher. In the midst of mixed messages about who needs which shot and when, the majority of Canadians are planning to skip the vaccine altogether. Complicating matters is an unpublished report revealing that among people who received the seasonal flu shot, their chances of contracting H1N1 are 1.5 to two times higher. That research, coupled with a growing consensus that H1N1 will be more prevalent this fall and winter than the seasonal flu, has prompted many provinces to revamp their vaccine schedules. Below, Maclean’s gathers the details from each provincial government. Additional information is available from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Newfoundland
Nova Scotia
Prince Edward Island
New Brunswick
Quebec
Ontario
Manitoba
Saskatchewan
Alberta
British Columbia
Yukon
Northwest Territories
Nunavut

NEWFOUNDLAND
Q. Are you giving seasonal flu shots, and if so when and to whom?
A. Yes, currently, and only to people over the age of 65; residents of long-term care homes; and adults and children with chronic heart or lung disease or with other diseases severe enough to require regular medical treatment or hospital care (such as severe asthma, diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, etc.).
Q. When are you giving H1N1 shots?
A. November or when they first become available.
Q. Were policies changed because of the unpublished study?
A. Research across the country was taken into account, but the decision to stagger the vaccinations is largely due to the fact that seniors are more affected by the seasonal flu, while H1N1 is more prevalent among the younger population.
Q. How do people go about getting vaccinated?
A. By going to family doctors or public health clinics.
Q. Do they have to pay for the vaccines?
A. H1N1 vaccine is free, the seasonal flu vaccine is free for high risk groups.

NOVA SCOTIA
Q. Are you giving seasonal flu shots, and if so when and to whom?
A. They’re currently being given to those 65 years of age or older and people in long-term care facilities. Shots will be offered to the general population once the H1N1 vaccination program is complete.
Q. When are you giving H1N1 shots?
A. Once they’re available, probably in November.
Q. Were policies changed because of the unpublished study?
A. The new policy is based on the fact that seniors and long-term care facility residents are at a low risk for H1N1 but a high risk for the seasonal flu.
Q. How do people go about getting vaccinated?
A. By going to doctors offices and free clinics.
Q. Do they have to pay for the vaccines?
A. H1N1 is free. The seasonal flu vaccine is free for high risk groups.

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Q. Are you giving seasonal flu shots, and if so when and to whom?
A. Yes, they’re currently being given to those 65 years and older and residents in long-term care facilities, and will be given to other high risk groups once the H1N1 vaccination campaign is complete.
Q. When are you giving H1N1 shots?
A. After the seasonal flu shots have been rolled out and once they become available.
Q. Were policies changed because of the unpublished study?
A. The administrations of the vaccines are being staggered based on evidence from across the country and in order to target the groups that are most at risk.
Q. How do people go about getting vaccinated?
A. Plans for H1N1 distribution are still to be determined. Residents can get seasonal flu shots from their family doctors.
Q. Do they have to pay for the vaccines?
A. The seasonal flu vaccine is free to those in high risk groups. The policy for the H1N1 vaccine is still to be determined.

NEW BRUNSWICK
Q. Are you giving seasonal flu shots, and if so when and to whom?
A. They’re available as of October 1, to anyone who wants them.
Q. When are you giving H1N1 shots?
A. As soon as they’re available.
Q. Were policies changed because of the unpublished study?
A. No. This study is inconsistent with other international studies and has failed to show a causal relationship. Both the Public Health Agency of Canada and the World Health Organization have responded to the study saying preliminary data show there is no link between having a severe bout of pandemic flu and having had a seasonal flu shot last year. New Brunswick’s position on this study has never changed. We know that seasonal flu is fatal to 100-150 New Brunswickers each year and that children are hospitalized by influenza more than any other age group. In making decisions for the province, we balanced this known significant risk and a vast body of published research against the results of one unpublished study, and determined the best way to protect all New Brunswickers from both diseases was to move ahead with our plans to run a seasonal flu immunization campaign in the month of October, and an H1N1 immunization campaign through the month of November.
Q. How do people go about getting vaccinated?
A. The seasonal vaccine is available through the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON), family physicians, or nurse practitioners. The H1N1 vaccine will be delivered through mass immunization clinics established in settings throughout the province.
Q. Do they have to pay for the vaccines?
A. H1N1 is free. The Department of Health funds flu vaccines for babies between the ages of six and 23 months, those aged 65 and over, pregnant women, and others at high risk of complications from influenza, as well as their household contacts.

QUEBEC
Q. Are you giving seasonal flu shots, and if so when and to whom?
A. All seasonal flu shots will be postponed until January 2010.
Q. When are you giving H1N1 shots?
A. Mid-November.
Q. Are you restricting who can get the shots?
A. No, but the H1N1 vaccines are first being provided for the chronically ill under 65, pregnant women, children aged six months to five years, persons living in outlying communities, health care workers and people living with a high risk family member who can’t be vaccinated.
Q. Were policies changed because of the unpublished report?
A. No, the province isn’t vaccinating for the seasonal flu until January because the virus won’t typically strike until February and March. Vaccination shots for H1N1 are made available earlier because swine flu infections begin earlier.
Q. How do people go about getting vaccinated?
A. By going to an immunization clinic.
Q. Do they have to pay for the vaccines?
A. No.

ONTARIO
Q. Are you giving seasonal flu shots, and if so when and to whom?
A. Yes, they’re currently being given to people aged 65 and over and residents of long-term care homes. They’ll be made available to the general population after the H1N1 vaccine campaign is finished in December or January.
Q. When are you giving H1N1 shots?
A. November.
Q. Were policies changed because of the unpublished study?
A. Yes, the policies were decided upon based on that study, combined with the fact that the H1N1 virus will be the dominant virus, and the fact that it is difficult to run two immunizations campaigns at once.
Q. How do people go about getting vaccinated?
A. By going to flu clinics or family doctors.
Q. Do they have to pay for the vaccines?
A. Both vaccines are free.

MANITOBA
Q. Are you giving seasonal flu shots, and if so when and to whom?
A. Yes, they’re currently being given to those aged 65 and over, people living in long-term health care facilities, children ages six to 23 months old, people with chronic illness or weakened immune systems, and pregnant women. Others can get it after the H1N1 vaccine rolls out.
Q. When are you giving H1N1 shots?
A. Later this fall, and they will be initially targeted to high risk groups. Who will fit into those groups remains to be determined.
Q. Were policies changed because of the unpublished study?
A. Yes, the study led the government to a very cautious approach in its vaccination campaign, but it and other findings are still being analyzed.
Q. How do people go about getting vaccinated?
A. They can go to public clinics offered by regional health authorities. They can also get seasonal flu shots from their doctors.
Q. Do they have to pay for the vaccines?
A. H1N1 vaccinations are free. Seasonal flu vaccinations are free to people in high risk groups.

SASKATCHEWAN
Q. Are you giving seasonal flu shots, and if so when and to whom?
A. Yes, they’re being given to those 65 or older and in long term care facilities. Once the H1N1 vaccinations are finished rolling out, seasonal flu shots will be offered to all residents. This is expected to happen in December.
Q. When are you giving H1N1 shots?
A. November to early December.
Q. Were policies changed because of the unpublished study?
A. No, the vaccination schedule is different this year because the H1N1 is now the primary virus circulating among those under 65.
Q. How do people go about getting vaccinated?
A. By going to flu clinics and, depending on region, to their doctors.
Q. Do they have to pay for the vaccines?
A. H1N1 shots are free for all. Seasonal flu shots are free for people in high risk groups and will cost about $20 for everyone else.

ALBERTA
Q. Are you giving seasonal flu shots, and if so when and to whom?
A. Yes, they’re being given to high risk groups such as seniors and those living in continuing care, pregnant women, children six to 23 months old, and adults and older children at high risk of developing more severe illness.
Q. When are you giving H1N1 shots?
A. November or when they’re available.
Q. Were policies changed because of the unpublished study?
A. The changes were made in order to more properly target the demographics at highest risk from each virus.
Q. How do people go about getting vaccinated?
A. Flu clinics.
Q. Do they have to pay for the vaccines?
A. H1N1 is free for everyone. The seasonal flu vaccine is free for those at risk for developing serious influenza-related complications, anyone who could transmit the virus to those at risk, healthy children aged two to four years and healthy adults aged 50 to 64 years.

BRITISH COLUMBIA
Q. Are you giving seasonal flu shots, and if so when and to whom?
A. Yes, they’re currently being given to people 65 and older and those in long-term care homes. The shots will be made available to everyone in early 2010.
Q. When are you giving H1N1 shots?
A. November.
Q. Were policies changed because of the unpublished study?
A. It was one of the considerations. The decision is also meant to deal with the logistics of delivering two vaccination campaigns at the same time.
Q. How do people go about getting vaccinated?
A. Public flu clinics.
Q. Do they have to pay for the vaccines?
A. H1N1 vaccination is free. Seasonal flu vaccination is free to recommended groups and will cost $15-20 for anyone else.

YUKON
Q. Are you giving seasonal flu shots, and if so when and to whom?
A. Residents 65 years of age and older, and individuals in long-term care facilities will get shots in October. The seasonal flu vaccinations will be offered to other residents once the H1N1 vaccine finishes rolling out.
Q. When are you giving H1N1 shots?
A. November.
Q. Were policies changed because of the unpublished study?
A. Timelines did not change significantly.
Q. How do people go about getting vaccinated?
A. By going to public clinics.
Q. Do they have to pay for the vaccines?
A. No, both are free.

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES
Q. Are you giving seasonal flu shots, and if so when and to whom?
A. They’re currently being given to people 65 or older, and will be given to the rest of the population once the H1N1 vaccination campaign is finished.
Q. When are you giving H1N1 shots?
A. November or when first available.
Q. Were policies changed because of the unpublished study?
A. No, it was done because the majority of cases in the general population are expected to be H1N1.
Q. How do people go about getting vaccinated?
A. In larger centres residents can go to public flu clinics. Travelling flu vaccination teams will administer shots in isolated communities.
Q. Do they have to pay for the vaccines?
A. Both are free.

NUNAVUT
Q. Are you giving seasonal flu shots, and if so when and to whom?
A. We will be closely monitoring the strains of influenza virus circulating in Canada and Nunavut, and if we see that the strains for which the current seasonal influenza vaccine would provide protection are present, we will offer our seasonal influenza vaccine to all Nunavummiut. Our intent is to offer appropriate protection, in a timely manner, to all citizens. The flu season in Nunavut is also later than in southern Canada.
Q. When are you giving H1N1 shots?
A. November.
Q. Were policies changed because of the unpublished study?
A. No. All decisions were made based on the influenza virus that is currently circulating, which is H1N1.
Q. How do people go about getting vaccinated?
A. There will be mass vaccination clinics in every Nunavut community.
Q. Do they have to pay for the vaccines?
A. No, the vaccine is free to all Nunavummiut.

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