Tis the season for flu shots

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Jab, jab, hook the flu. KOMUnews via Flickr

Shots! Shots! Shots!

It’s October, which means that it’s time to start thinking about getting your flu shot. What seems like such a menial chore is actually extremely vital for our society’s health. So, let’s all do our part.

According to the Government of Canada, getting a flu shot is beneficial to not only you, but the greater public. The vaccination will protect you when exposed to the influenza virus, prevent you from becoming ill, and it will also protect those around you since those who receive the shot are less likely to spread the virus.

Certain populations are more susceptible to the flu which makes it important for a majority of the population to get vaccinated. People with various ailments such as cancer, diabetes, heart, kidney or lung disease and anemia, to name a few, are at a higher risk to suffer complications from a simple flu.

Nathanael Bergbusch, a Master’s student currently writing his thesis on stream nutrient pollution, offers a biological standpoint, bringing clarity to how the flu vaccine does its job.

“From more of a biological perspective, the flu vaccine might not be as effective in some seasons just because scientists are guessing which strains of the virus will appear in certain seasons, and they’re making a cocktail of these dead or inactivated strains that are either grown up in animal cells or eggs in the lab. Then these strains are added and your body receives these dead strains and it puts up an immune response; it creates antibodies. Then, when you come in contact with a live strain of the virus in the environment, if it’s a strain that your body recognizes – if it’s a strain that was in the vaccine, then your body is familiar with that immune response and it will be able to cope much better with that virus and you will probably not show any symptoms that are negative.”

“In the case of the elderly and children, they still might potentially have a response to a virus even if they got the vaccine, but it’s still important [for] a whole community [to get] a vaccine because, in a sense, you get something called ‘herd immunity’ where you’re protecting other people by having the vaccine because then you are not a transmitter of the virus.”

This year’s vaccine will protect you against Influenza A (H1N1 and/or H3N2) and Influenza B.

Free influenza vaccinations will be available for all students, faculty, staff and volunteers on campus. Family members are also welcome! Head on down to the Research and Innovation Centre (RIC) Atrium on either Monday, Oct. 28, or Tuesday, Nov. 5, both from 9:00 to 5:30. Bring your provincial health card, or don’t – you can get your shot either way! It’s also a smart idea to wear short sleeves (though is not mandatory).

These free clinics are provided by Saskatchewan Health Authority and Alliance Health Pharmacy and are recommended for everyone above the age of six months old by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

If you can’t make it to the U of R clinics, flu vaccines are extremely accessible this time of year and you can receive at your local pharmacy.

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