Doctors ask Nova Scotians to get flu shots this year

Family doctors are asking Nova Scotians to roll up their sleeves to receive a flu shot. This year, it’s even more important to be vaccinated against the influenza virus and its complications.

That’s because we worry about Nova Scotians getting sick with flu as our province continues to see cases of the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant. We all must stay well so hospital beds, emergency departments and testing centres are reserved for people who really need care, particularly as we enter the fourth wave of the pandemic.

Receiving your flu shot is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu. The flu shot is safe and free for all Nova Scotians six months of age and older.

We encourage everyone to get vaccinated, including people at high risk for complications from the flu, such as adults 65 years of age and older, children six months to five years of age, pregnant women, people with conditions like heart disease, asthma and diabetes, and Indigenous peoples (due to the high risk of complications and hospitalizations).

People at high risk of COVID-19-related illness and people who could give the flu to them should also receive the influenza vaccine this fall.

Watch for information about flu shot clinics, if you don’t have a family doctor, check out your local walk-in clinic or pharmacy. Clinics are being planned across the province and will follow public health measures to protect patients from COVID-19. You must be screened for COVID-19, wear a mask, clean your hands, social distance and follow any other instructions your doctor provides.

We expect demand for a flu shot to be high again this year. If you haven’t already done so, please book an appointment for your flu shot.

Remember: the flu shot will only protect you from the flu. We must all do our part to help prevent others from getting sick from COVID-19, particularly being fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s also important to continue washing our hands, wearing a mask and keeping social distance. If you do get sick with symptoms that feel like the flu or COVID-19, it’s important to get tested for COVID-19.

Dr. Heather Johnson

President, Doctors Nova Scotia