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Islanders to get flu shots for free this year

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Starting this year, every person living in Prince Edward Island is eligible to receive a free flu shot.

Beginning Oct. 10, Islanders can go to a walk-in clinic, visit local pharmacists, family physicians or nurse practitioners to get the vaccine. There is no charge, regardless of where people go to get immunized.

“The flu shot is your best defence against the flu,” said Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson.

He added, “The flu shot is free, easy to get and it's the best way to stay healthy this flu season.”

Influenza, or “the flu", is a disease that affects the airways and the lungs. The flu spreads easily from person to person. It can sometimes cause severe illness or even death. Babies, children, older adults and people with certain health conditions are at higher risk of serious flu complications.

“Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from getting or giving the flu to those around you. As more people are immunized, the disease risk for everyone is reduced,” said Dr. Heather Morrison, chief public health officer. “Other steps people can take to minimize their risk of contracting the flu include hand washing either with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer, sneezing or coughing into your sleeve, and staying home when you are sick.”

All clinics are on walk-in basis this year; no appointments needed. Call 1-855-354-4358 (4FLU) or get a full list of clinic times and locations online at https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/sante-i-p-e/flu-vaccination-clinics

About the flu vaccine

This year's flu shot will offer protection against four strains of influenza viruses specified by the World Health Organization:  two strains of influenza A and two strains of influenza B.

The flu shot strengthens your immune system against specific strains of influenza virus circulating in the community. It does this by stimulating your immune system to build up antibodies against the viruses, making it stronger so that it’s ready to fight off the illness before it starts.

Getting your flu shot early in the season lets your immune system build up antibodies sooner, so it’s ready when flu season starts. It can take up to two weeks for antibodies to build up after you get the shot.

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