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Coronavirus measures reduce number of flu cases

[Stock Photo]

The same measures we’ve become accustomed to in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic – wearing a mask, physically distancing and reducing our interactions with others – have reduced both the spread of the virus and the flu.

According to data reported by FluWatch, during the 50-week period ending on December 12, only 47 influenza detections have been reported. This number is exponentially smaller than the average for the last six years at this point in the season at 4,354. Although figures are low at this point, it’s still possible that our season is yet to come. The beginning of the influenza season normally starts as early as October, but it can be as late as the new year.   

Waterloo Region received its first batch of doses of inoculations in November; they were booked up immediately. However, there is no current shortage in Waterloo Region at the moment.  

Public health officials earlier this month stated additional flu vaccine had been obtained by the Ministry of Health to address the increased demand this season. Region of Waterloo Public Health continues to receive the flu vaccine from the ministry and distributes the vaccine to health care providers who request it. There is no shortage in our supply at this time. Pharmacies receive their vaccine from the ministry directly. Although we do not yet have exact numbers, and won’t until the end of the flu season, we do expect to see higher numbers of individuals who have received their flu vaccine this season (based on demand for the vaccine). 

More recently, the region noted it had completed its drive-thru clinics, with subsequent clinics moving indoors due to the weather to permit in-person follow-up for families with children who attended the drive-thru clinics and still require a second dose of the flu vaccine. Families whose children still require a second dose of the flu vaccine can also visit their family doctor, a walk-in clinic or a pharmacy (must be five years of age or older).

Outside of the clinics, many people opt to receive the shot from their family doctors, walk-in clinics or pharmacies where stocks exist.

Booking for appointments began on December 21 for the January clinics and can be made by calling 519-575-4608 while supplies last.

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