It’s one of the most pressing issues for Canadians this week. It’s impossible to avoid it in the news or in discussions around the office.
Yet the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from the H1N1 flu virus is to educate yourself…get informed.
It’s understandable that Canadians are worried and confused about H1N1. Any parent cannot help but worry about their own child with news this week that more healthy school children have died suddenly from the virus.
As for the confusion, there are many myths circulating about the virus and the vaccine. It’s important for you to research your actions and decisions related to the outbreak.
Last week, after an exhaustive review process based upon the best available science, critical trial data and evidence about H1N1 from Canada and around the world, Health Canada authorized the H1N1 flu vaccine as safe for use. This approval will make the vaccine available for EVERY Canadian who needs and wants it.
The Government of Canada has been working with provincial and territorial governments to deliver the H1N1 vaccine to health care facility sites. Many vaccine clinics are already open across the country. And yes, as the first wave of Canadians flood these clinics, there will be line-ups.
However, millions of additional doses continue to be shipped each day. Canada is one of the few countries in the world that has the capacity to vaccinate EVERYONE due to careful planning and preparation, which includes our Conservative Government’s $1-billion investment in Budget 2006 to better prepare for public health threats such as a flu pandemic.
I recognize some people believe the H1N1 outbreak is being overblown. While it remains true that many Canadians die from the seasonal flu each year, it primarily hits those with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly. As we’ve tragically witnessed, H1N1 has more potential to cause death in anyone who contracts the virus, including young, perfectly healthy individuals.
Regular hand-washing and other hygiene measures to avoid catching or spreading the virus, as well as staying home from work or school if you fall ill, are important steps you should take to protect yourself, your family and those around you.
Yet, the H1N1 vaccine is your best defence against this virus. Clinical trials of the H1N1 vaccine have shown that 85-98% of healthy adults developed an immune response strong enough to protect them against the virus.
The following are some important resources for information that you should read and discuss with your family:
Your H1N1 Preparedness Guide: Includes Symptoms of the H1N1 Flu; Prevention; Caring for Someone who is Sick; Vaccine and Antivirals. You can download this guide from the website above or your can call 1-800-O-Canada.
www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/alert-alerte/h1n1/vacc/myth-mythe-eng.php Vaccine Myths. www.immunizebc.ca www.gov.bc.ca/h1n1
Information about H1N1 for British Columbians:
Includes H1N1 Surveillance in BC; Prevention Tips and H1N1 School Information.
Flu Clinic Finder for British Columbia.
Phone: 8-1-1 or www.healthlink.bc.ca
HealthLink BC: If you have symptoms or concerns you can speak to a nurse 24 hours a day/seven days a week.
I intend to get my H1N1 shot. I encourage you to get yours as well.