EDITORIAL: Get your flu shot, Squamish

If you are the average Squamish resident — 30-something, uber-fit, former Olympian, kale-loving, clean-living parent with a young child, a jogging stroller and a dog that wears a bandana — you will likely get the flu this year, be knocked down for a few days and get back to work and climbing the Chief as a warm-up in no time. 

Lucky you. 

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But that child undergoing chemo and that senior with a weakened immune system, both of whom you brushed past coughing on the way to get Nyquil at the pharmacy, won’t be so lucky. 

Each year up to seven million Canadians get the flu.

Influenza and pneumonia are ranked among the top 10 leading causes of death in Canada. Each year there are 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths from the flu. 

Many in town are currently stressing out about a dozen vaping-related deaths, but won’t get a flu shot. 

A recent study commissioned by London Drugs and carried out by Insights West found 40 per cent of those polled won’t get the vaccine. 

Meanwhile in Australia, where the flu season is from June through September, this year was the worst on record, with 260,000 laboratory-confirmed cases by early September, before it had fully run its course. 

There were 52,000 confirmed cases in 2018.

Get the flu shot, Squamish. 

Sometimes being a good citizen is not about you or even about your family. It is about caring for the herd. 

There are folks who can’t get the shot for medical reasons. You go to work contagious, pass the flu to that person, he passes it on to his wife who has breast cancer. 

Do it for them. 

Many in Squamish are asking our leaders to listen to the science on climate change. The data is all there, they chant. 

But some of those same people will ignore or think they know better than the overwhelming science done on the flu vaccine. 

Did you know that each year the flu vaccine formulation is based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization’s Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System, which is made up of 142 national influenza centres, six collaborating centres for influenza, four essential regulatory laboratories and 13 reference laboratories? 

The shot and the recommendation to get it are not coming from a boardroom at ‘big pharma.’ 

It is hard to trust anything these days, but be rational. Trust these folks and science-based information. Not your neighbour or an online commentator, or an internet portal. 

This year’s shot will protect you and your Squamish herd against: influenza A(H1N1); influenza A(H3N2); influenza B.

The full quantity of vaccine will be available in early October to high-priority populations including health care workers, people in long-term care facilities, and those at high risk due to underlying medical conditions, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control. Public health clinics will begin in early November.

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