Fewer flu shots provided

FEWER PEOPLE are getting flu shots at the Northern Health Authority’s health unit here than in previous years.

And in January, no one at all showed up for a shot.

Up to the end of December 2010, 2,582 people had received a shot, less than the 2,852 people inoculated as of the end of December 2008.

“So that’s 270 fewer people,” said authority official Eryn Collins in noting that the figures track shots given since October which is start of the flu season. The season generally finishes the end of February.

Up to the end of January 2009, 2,871 people had received a shot, meaning the gap between then and now widened to 289 people.

Collins said the October 2009 to February 2010 flu season is not being used as a comparison simply because of the huge number of shots given because of the H1N1 outbreak.

“These numbers are just the shots that we provide. They don’t include ones given at doctors’ offices or elsewhere,” Collins added of the figures quoted.

Meanwhile, Kitimat residents seem far more responsive to the idea of receiving a flu shot.

To the end of January this year, 1,698 people had visited the health authority’s facility there. That’s 52 people more than was the case to the end of January 2009.

To date, there have been no reports of major flu outbreaks in the region although there have been some cases of H1N1 on Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands).

This year’s shot is meant to ward off three specific strains, including one that is an offshoot of H1N1.

Collins said there is no charge for flu shots given by the health authority as long as a person meets the criteria.

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