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Christmas is just around the corner. This year, will you: :

Get your flu shot… in February?

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Added: Wed, 11/04/2020 - 11:35am
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Car Hager & Allyson Beauregard
Éditorial partagé
Shared editorial

Health experts say this year it’s more important than ever to get the seasonal
flu shot to avoid a ‘twindemic’: many people becoming sick because two viruses
are circulating simultaneously.
With such importance attached to the flu shot this year, information about where
and how to get it should be easily accessible and the process simple and quick. But that’s not the case. (See page 6) 
Walk-in flu shot clinics have been replaced with an appointment system because of the pandemic. For those who qualify for free vaccination, they should call their family doctor; if they don’t offer it, an appointment can be booked online or by calling a hotline. Registration opened October 13 and vaccinations began November 1. Making an appointment at a pharmacy is another option, but those who must pay (people who aren’t considered “at risk”) are also directed to this source and some urban area pharmacies are already reporting a lack of vaccines.  
CISSSO is advertising its 2020 flu shot campaign in newspapers (the first Pontiac ad appeared in our October 21 issue – in French only), as well as on their website, social media, and displays in hospitals and pharmacies. So, why is there so much confusion about where and how to get the shot?
Online advertising misses a significant portion of the population, particularly
seniors, one of the most at-risk groups.
The phone number advertised is a good alternative, but people have to know about
it, and information should be bilingual. 
Those who knew early on about the website were able to get an appointment,
but latecomers face a dearth of openings leaving them either with a long wait or a
long drive. One Quyon resident had to travel to Chapeau for an appointment. The Masham CLSC is now booking in February. Unless more appointments are opened, Pontiac is booked solid since city-dwellers have been directed to rural areas because of a lack of flu clinics in Aylmer and Hull. 
This is not good service! Is travelling 100 km for a flu shot or waiting a month to get one reasonable? Or is this just another instance of how distance travel is becoming the new norm for Pontiac healthcare? Imagine if a mega hospital in the city
became the only option available!  If the government is truly focused on
adequately promoting the flu shot, why isn’t the information provided on full page spreads like the COVID info that’s been running in local newspapers for months? Newspapers are the source many people rely on for important information. Why is it now a scramble to add flu clinics and appointment slots when there were months to prepare?
The best way to make sure an important message is disseminated, understood and
followed is to announce it loud and clear and make sure the process is simple and
convenient. Leaving residents scrambling to nab appointments, often calling multiple sources and possibly driving great distances, isn’t health ‘care’. Would it be this way if the Pontiac’s health system was still able to call its own shots?