Canadian Health experts advise citizens to get flu shot to avoid toll on healthcare system
Ottawa/IBNS: Canada's health experts are advising Canadians to get the flu shot to avoid an influx of people becoming ill as influenza and the novel coronavirus circulate at the same time, media reports said.
Health experts say that although flu shot is not a preventive measure against coronavirus, still it is important for people to take all precautions to reduce their chances of getting flu, to avoid overburdening the healthcare system if it needs to treat both flu and COVID-19 patients.
"If you haven't received the vaccine in previous years, this is the year to get it," said Dr. Danuta Skowronski, an infectious disease expert specializing in influenza and emerging respiratory illnesses at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, and added, "It is particularly important this year that those with high-risk conditions receive the influenza vaccine so that we are not utilizing critical hospital beds for influenza that could be used for those with COVID, [where] there is currently no vaccine," reported by CBC News.
There is an "overlap" in the people who are at especially high risk of critical illness from influenza and from COVID-19 including seniors and people with underlying health conditions, said Skowronski and added getting a flu vaccine could also help reduce "unnecessary testing" for COVID-19 as several symptoms of both illnesses are similar.
Anticipated increased demand for the flu shot has resulted in the rise by 22 percent of the vaccine (13.7 million) ordered by the provinces and territories compared to the amount ordered by the same time last year (11.2 million), according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), who told CBC News that this year's order is the highest order ever placed in Canada for seasonal influenza vaccine,
PHAC said that this year's delivery of the flu vaccine in Canada is expected to be at its usual time starting in mid-September with most deliveries completed by the end of October.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)