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October 15, 2003
For immediate release

Influenza Vaccine Available for Islanders

Health and Social Services

Chief Health Officer Dr. Lamont Sweet today advised Islanders to protect themselves and those around them by being vaccinated against influenza.

"As we approach the winter months, and spend more time indoors in closer contact with others, the flu tends to spread more quickly," said Dr. Sweet. "Although we urge people at high risk to see their physician and receive the vaccine, all adults and children over six should consider vaccination."

After vaccination, the body's immune system produces antibodies which then prevent infection or reduce the likelihood of severe illness should infection occur. High risk individuals and groups include adults and children with lung disease, seniors, nursing home residents and staff, and anyone with a chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, and HIV. The vaccine is also recommended for people who are capable of transmitting influenza to those at high risk (health care workers and household contacts) and those providing essential community services.

"There is often confusion between a stomach illness (nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea) and influenza, which is commonly referred to as the flu," said Dr. Sweet. "Influenza symptoms include sudden high fever, headache, loss of appetite, severe muscle aches and pain, extreme fatigue and weakness, chills, dry cough, sweating, and sometimes sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion and sneezing. Influenza can leave a person bedridden for five to ten days and could lead to pneumonia or bronchitis."

Islanders wishing to receive the vaccine should arrange to do so through their family doctor. A flu vaccine clinic will be held for people without a family doctor on Saturday, November 8, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Parkdale Medical Clinic on St. Peter's Road. The cost of the vaccine is $15 per dose. Please bring your Personal Health Card. Appointments are not necessary.

Media Contact: Connie McNeill
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