What do all of the months between November and April have in common?

These six months are all within flu season with the peak of illness usually occurring in February. In Canada, the flu results in an average of 20,000 hospitalizations and 4,000 deaths every year. Influenza viruses can change rapidly. That’s why there is a new flu shot made every year to protect against the changing virus. The 2012-13 vaccine protects against three strains of the seasonal influenza that are predicted to circulate this season, including H1N1. If you haven’t gotten sick yet, you can thank the flu shot. If you haven’t gotten a flu shot yet, you should think about getting it.

Need some convincing?

You’re helping others too
Some people have conditions that increase the risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia if they get sick with the flu. These individuals may have asthma, diabetes, chronic lung disease, are over 65 years old or are pregnant. By getting the flu shot, you’re protecting your family, friends and colleagues from the virus.

The vaccine does not make you sick
There is a myth that getting a flu shot causes you to get the flu. The viruses in the injectable influenza vaccine are inactivated so they do not cause influenza. Minor side effects that can occur include soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site, fever (low grade), or aches. If these problems occur, they begin soon after vaccination and usually last one or two days.

Widely available and free, for your convenience
Not only is this year’s vaccine offered at no cost, it is offered in many locations including your family doctor’s office, public health clinics and walk-in clinics, and at many long-term care facilities. In addition, many employers are providing workplace flu clinics. Even if you don’t have a regular doctor, you can get the vaccine somewhere else, like a health department or pharmacy. When it comes to finding a flu shot, you have many different options!

Get the shot

If you haven’t received the flu shot this year, don’t worry – it’s not too late! Some health care providers may have remaining supplies of the vaccine. People seeking vaccination may need to call more than one provider to locate availability. Doctors Nova Scotia’s list of walk-in clinics across Nova Scotia may be helpful.

  • The flu shot will begin to provide protection as soon as one to two weeks after injection.
  • There’s nothing to lose…except the risk of catching the flu!


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Submitted By: Michelle Clark

You know, when I saw this post, I thought this was going to be a story, on how the NS medical community records all winter deaths between November and April, as Influenza deaths, unless an autopsy has been performed, or an in-hospital death clearly shows otherwise. But I guess it’s just medical students who are giving us NS citizens the straight goods.

Just wondering…from a medical doctors point of view – what would happen to these statistics if we actually recorded cause of death properly in NS? Also, I notice that there is nothing here about mineral content. No information about the amount of mercury in these vaccines. No information about all of the research in regards to Autism links in children, and these vaccines. Why is that?

You state that the flu vaccine can’t give you the flu — that is not the average person’s worry in NS. The average person is worried about the research that is available online. Now myself, I’m never going to believe one word that anyone tells me at this point, I just can’t. There is just too much doubt in my mind, but if the propaganda is true – and these vaccines truly are safe – as far as you, our doctors know – then you need to write a more informative blog with some sources for your reasoning…because many people just do not believe this any more.

They ask why Doctor’s in B.C. (or Ontario) had to be legislated to take the flu shot. Why almost half of them weren’t doing so by choice? They ask if there truly is no link from vaccines to Autism, why are there dozens of books on the subject? They ask why our mental health issues in NS so high? Depression, Autism, ADHD, MS..these 4 issues specifically, have some of the highest rates in our country, but nobody can tell us anything about that. Is it all genetics? A side effect of all of the inbreeding in NS’s past?

Perhaps, since you’re doctors – and experts, you could shed some light with a few more details when you write these blogs — and I know this sounds like I’m trying to stir up trouble – I’m really not. There is just so much information out here, and it’s getting to be a bit difficult to tell who or what information to trust, especially when it seems that every time we turn around, there is another story of corruption, false statistics, issues with statistical data being built improperly, and so the research is null and void.

I think it’s high time for sites like this, but I would really love to see one that actually addresses what is being debated on social media, and “wikileak” type sites all over the internet.

Submitted By: Doctors nova scotia

Hello Michelle,

Thank you for your sharing your thoughts and ideas on the subject. You are right – there is a lot of information and questions being discussed on the Internet about vaccines and the potential adverse reactions associated with them.

First, never hesitate to talk directly with your doctor if you need more clarity on making the best health decisions.

The flu vaccine used in Canada is safe and effective. In fact, immunization is the most effective way to protect yourself, and your community, from the flu, which we know accounts for over 400 deaths in Canada each year.

There is a lot of information and discussions on the Internet around influenza other types of vaccines and their alleged connection to autism and Alzheimer’s disease, for example. Flu vaccines used in Canada contain a form of mercury called thimerosal. Thimerosal does not cause autism or other neurodevelopment disorders. The best available science to date has shown that there is no link between vaccines containing thimerosal and autism or other behaviour disorders.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has reviewed the safety of thimerosal and concluded that the alleged adverse health effect from thimerosal in vaccines has never been substantiated.

The Public Health Agency of Canada confirms that international bodies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) and the Institute of Medicine in the United States share this opinion.

Here’s a list of references the WHO used to determine that there was no link between mercury and autism.

Input is always welcome as we move forward with our efforts to improve the health of Nova Scotia.