OUTAOUAIS – The Centre intégré de santé et des services sociaux de l’Outaouais (CISSSO) held a press conference, October 22, to provide an update on the pandemic and speak about the 2020 flu vaccine campaign.
“The flu shot is highly recommended for people at risk. It’s the best way to
protect yourself from the flu and its complications,” said Dr. Carol McConnery, the Infectious Diseases Medical Officer at the Public Health Branch of CISSSO.
With walk-in flu shot clinics cancelled this year because of the COVID
pandemic, residents now must book appointments. Bookings started October 13 and vaccinations began November 1.
Residents have two options for getting their flu shot: those who have a scheduled appointment with a health care professional (pharmacist, physician, nurse, etc.) can ask them whether it’s possible to get their flu shot during the appointment; or those who qualify for free vaccination can make an appointment at a flu clinic via the Clicsante.ca website or calling 819-966-6277.
Flu shots are free and recommended for the following groups deemed more at risk: those 75 and older; those 6 months of age and older living with certain chronic diseases; pregnant women with certain chronic diseases during pregnancy and those who are healthy during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy; family members living in the same household as a child under 6 months of age or someone at high risk; caregivers of someone at risk; and health care workers, particularly those who provide direct patient care.
Those who do not meet these criteria are required to pay to receive the vaccine, which is around $30.
More appointments and clinics needed
With demand for the shot high, many areas like the Pontiac have very few or no appointments left while others are booking into February. On October 22, Pontiac MNA André Fortin denounced that there were no clinics set up in Hull or Aylmer, which also impacted the Pontiac.
“Since there are no clinics offered in certain urban sectors, people were redirected to the rural sectors…so now they are completely booked too; completely nuts and inexcusable. This government has no foresight. If there has ever been a year when the flu shot should be more accessible, not less, it’s this year. CISSSO and the
CAQ government have completely dropped the ball,” he told the Journal.
On October 23, CISSSO announced via social media that it will be establishing a clinic in the Hull sector “soon” as well as adding time slots in existing clinics.
In the meantime, “People can call on community pharmacies or their family doctors to get the vaccine in the coming weeks. CISSSO is working tirelessly to add new time slots. Vaccination will be available until January and even February 2021,” said Patricia Rhéaume, CISSSO communications agent.