"In a few years there will be a better match for the vaccine, not in a few years," said Aoki. "The other thing is, if the strain has changed enough, the vaccine does not cover everything, or if the strain was not expected then we obviously tend to worsen the number of cases than expected."

The two strains A and B have similar symptoms.

Concerning those affected, influenza rates were most prevalent between the ages of 60-64 and over 65 years.

Leigh Smith, owner of the drugstore of shopper Drug Mart at 1500 King St. E. in Cambridge, also noted this trend.

Smith says senior citizens, in particular, came to their drugstore last year to get the vaccine, but stressed that anyone can get sick, even if he is completely healthy.

"It not only protects you, it also protects the public," Smith said about the vaccine.

Smith says children, pregnant women, caseworkers who work with a high-risk population, and school teachers are some of the most vulnerable populations to become infected with the influenza virus. Aoki says that people living with vulnerable people should also receive the high-priority vaccine.

However, the buyer only needs the health card to get the vaccine.

"People have become very confident with the pharmacists," Smith said. "You really like the accessibility. As a pharmacist, we are the most accessible health professionals available to the public. I've really seen a big shot (in vaccines).

"It's especially important that the flu gets shot, because even though it may be annoying for some, it can cause serious complications for many people. It is estimated that about 3,500 (every year) die from the flu virus, and there are 12,000 flu influenza hospitalizations, so people are at risk. "

Smith, who also noticed last year's flu season, wanted to highlight some of the myths surrounding the vaccine.

"I think, first of all, it's one of the things that makes people, a myth that people think (the vaccine) gives them flu, and that's not true," she said. "The flu vaccine is an inactivated virus, ie (injected), so it is not infectious and therefore can not give you flu."

Aoki says it is very difficult to predict whether the vaccine will meet the upcoming seasonal strain of influenza, and as more cases develop in the region, more information will be available.

"We know from the southern hemisphere, which is not always a perfect correlation, that it was a relatively calm year for the southern hemisphere, and they were a good match in a H1N1 year included in this (year) vaccine Unfortunately, we do not have enough information to make an estimate at this point, "Aoki said.

This year, one case has been reported in the region so far.

Aoki speaks out for people with strong and bad immune systems who take the vaccine and says it's "the best tool we have."

"It's often the most preventive measure. However, this certainly applies to all other recommended preventive measures, "explains Aoki. "Wash your hands frequently, cover off coughs and sneezes, and stay home when you're sick, so you do not spread out on your fellow human beings. Do not visit your grandfather or grandmother in a nursing home if you feel sick because you will take him to an endangered population. "

Public health coordinates the distribution of vaccines to healthcare providers. In 2017-2018, there were 348 distributors, including pharmacies, nursing homes, medical practices and other agencies.

In the 2017-2018 season, 147.901 influenza vaccines were distributed.

Aoki states that there are no specific data on how many vaccines were actually given to patients, but the region estimates that most of the distributed vaccines were used.


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