Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are motivated to get the flu shot in wake of the COVID-19 second and third wave.
Flu season is here. The Department of Health and Community Services is encouraging all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to get a flu shot this year. Starting (Wednesday, October 21), the regional health authorities will begin hosting free flu shot clinics. Appointments will be required this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Walk-in appointments will not be available.
Appointments can be booked online using a new online tool, Health Myself. Links to the Health Myself tool for each regional health authority can be found in the Learn More section below. People can also book an appointment by calling toll-free at 1-833-951-3904. Appointments must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance. People with COVID-19 who are self-isolating should only book an appointment after their self-isolation period ends and they have been cleared by Public Health.
Stringent Public Health measures will be in place at the clinics to ensure the protection of those receiving their flu shots, as well as health care staff. Everyone will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and must wear a mask. Due to physical distancing requirements, people will not be able to enter the clinic waiting area until 10 minutes prior to their scheduled appointment. Individuals are asked to bring their MCP card and wear short sleeves when they go to get their flu shot.
To help improve access, pharmacists and physicians can administer the vaccine free-of-charge this year. Physicians can administer the vaccine to everyone, regardless of age. Pharmacists can administer the vaccine to people five years of age and older.
Other health care professionals administering the flu shot this year in the regional health authorities include registered nurses, nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses, physicians, advanced care and primary care paramedics, midwives, and nursing and medical students with appropriate supervision.
The Newfoundland and Labrador government is offering grants to employers with over 100 employees who wish to hire a qualified health care provider to offer a workplace vaccination clinic. Flu vaccine and appropriate PPE will be provided to these employers by the department from the provincial supply stock.
The regional health authorities will be administering flu shots to:
- Residents in long-term care homes; personal care homes, and other residential care settings;
- Home support clients who are unable to attend public flu clinics;
- Individuals in correctional facilities;
- In-patients in acute care hospitals and health centres; and, patients in other acute settings such as some ambulatory clinics; and,
- Clients admitted in mental health and addictions treatment settings.
“A second wave of COVID-19 in the fall and winter months would place additional pressures on the health care system and increase hospitalizations. While the flu shot does not prevent COVID-19, getting it will prevent people from getting and spreading the flu, and reduce the number of people needing medical attention.” John Haggie Minister of Health and Community Services
The regional health authorities are also working with the provincial school districts and private schools to offer the flu vaccine for students in Grades 4 to 12. Parental consent will be required as part of the vaccination process.
Through the province’s publicy-funded vaccination program, during the 2019-2020 season, approximately 157,970 people received the flu shot.