REGINA, SK--(Marketwired - November 01, 2016) - The Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan is reminding everyone that pharmacists, along with public health and physicians, are once again providing free flu shots to residents nine years of age and older who have a valid Saskatchewan Health Services Card.
"I want to encourage our residents to protect themselves and those around them by getting immunized this flu season," said Health Minister Jim Reiter. "Thank you to pharmacists in our province for offering this important service along with public health and physicians. Getting a free flu shot is easy and convenient in Saskatchewan. You can get vaccinated not only at one of the many participating pharmacies, but also at public health clinics, and physician and Nurse Practitioner offices."
The best time to get vaccinated is between now and the middle of December, but it is never too late. Currently there are over 1000 pharmacists in 286 pharmacies, representing 79% of the pharmacies in Saskatchewan, that are signed up to provide flu shots this season. These pharmacies are spread across 82 communities throughout the province. Children under nine years of age will need to be vaccinated at a public health clinic.
Dawn Martin, CEO of the Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan says that, "Flu immunization is the longest-lasting and most effective way to prevent the spread of the influenza virus. Pharmacists are committed to contributing to the success of this important public health initiative. Many pharmacies offer walk up appointments. This additional in-pharmacy service means more access, choice and convenience for our residents. Ideally, this will help increase the numbers of Saskatchewan people getting their flu shots."
Last year, almost 56,000 patients were vaccinated by community pharmacists, with 25% of all doses administered in the first week of the flu shot campaign.
Pharmacists must complete approximately 30 hours of clinical and live training before receiving certification from the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals to administer the flu vaccine. This training is in addition to Standard First Aid and CPR Level C certification that is also mandatory for pharmacists to obtain.
Getting vaccinated is particularly recommended for high risk people susceptible to complications from influenza:
- the elderly (over 65);
- persons with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems;
- pregnant women; and
- young children
Please visit www.skpharmacists.ca/patients for a list of pharmacies offering the flu vaccination service. Information on public health clinics is available on health region websites that can be accessed from www.saskatchewan.ca/flu .