Sask. health authority stresses importance of flu shots amid COVID-19 surge

As COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU admissions continue to reach record-breaking highs in Saskatchewan, the health authority’s immunization lead is encouraging residents to get their flu shot, saying the health care system can’t afford to have COVID-19 and the flu play out at the same time.

Dr. Tania Diener, the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s COVID-19 immunization co-chief, said last year, public health orders played a large role in keeping the flu at bay.

“This year we’re not in the same position, so I’m a little bit more worried and Thanksgiving is coming up and not long after that it’s Christmas,” said Diener.

She said residents need to prepare for the worst, and encourages everyone who is eligible for a flu vaccine to get immunized. Anyone over the age of six months is able to get the jab.

SHA clinics will be spread out across the province starting Oct. 12, but residents are already able to make an appointment online or by calling 1-833-SASKVAX.

“Our human resources are kind of tight though this year, so there might be some communities that actually won’t get a flu clinic but there will be somewhere close to them,” said Jeannie Munro, executive director of Primary Care for Integrated Rural Health.

Over 300 Saskatchewan pharmacies will also be giving flu shots to anyone over the age of five.

A complete list of pharmacies offering flu shots this season can be found on the Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan's website.

If they haven’t already been vaccinated against COVID-19, Diener added it’s safe for people to get both shots at the same time. Previously, it was recommended to allow time between other vaccinations and the COVID-19 vaccine, but this has since changed after investigation.