County flu campaign in full swing

Darrell Cole
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County flu campaign in full swing

AMHERST - As the 2007 flu campaign kicks off health-care officials are encouraging pregnant and new mothers to join the list of those getting flu shots.

"Before it used to be pregnant women with potential complications get a shot, now it's being recommended that all pregnant women and breastfeeding women get a shot," Barb Caulfield, infection control and staff health nurse with the Cumberland Health Authority, said as the Cumberland County flu campaign was kicked off.

With one case of the flu already reported in the province, Caulfield said it's important for those people at risk to get a flu shot as soon as possible.

Along with pregnant women and new mothers, other at risk groups include adults and children with chronic heart and lung problems and other chronic diseases, people older than age 65, people living with or caring for people over age 65, infants ages six months to 23 months, all health-care workers and health-care students, police officers and firefighters.

Among those getting a flu shot during the campaign kickoff were health-care worker, Erin Beaton, and her infant son, Evan.

"I've been getting a flu shot for a number of years and felt it important to look out for the health of my son as well," she said after being immunized.

Because health-care workers are often in frequent contact with those at risk of contracting the flu, Beaton felt it important to get a flu shot. Despite this, only 50 per cent of health-care workers get a flu shot.

Caulfield said Cumberland County has been bucking that trend with most health-care workers at the CHA's facilites and offices getting a shot.

"The complications from the flu can be very severe. That's why it's important that if there's a vaccine available to prevent that, why not get it," she said. "Anyone who's compromised in any way is at greater risk."

Public health nurse Jackie Beal said a rise in influenza among pregnant women and infants in Australia has health-care officials here urging those groups to be vaccinated.

"We're hoping that if we have all our at risk people vaccinated we won't have any issues," she said.

Last year, there were about 11,000 doses given out in Cumberland County, including those administered by public health, at the hospitals and in doctors offices. While trends across the province have been decreasing, there has been a small increase in Cumberland County.

Clinics are continuing through the rest of the month and into early November at various locations across the county. Another public clinic has been added for Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Amherst Centre Mall

Upcoming clinics

Thursday, Oct. 25

Advocate Fire Hall 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 5 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 29

Parrsboro Fire Hall 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 5 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 2

Pugwash, St. Thomas Moore Church Hall 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 5

Oxford Lions Community Centre 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:30 to 5 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 6

Amherst, Trinity-St. Stephen's 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:30 to 5 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 8

River Hebert, Brookside Curling Club 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 5:30 p.m.

Organizations: Cumberland Health Authority, Oxford Lions Community Centre, Brookside Curling Club

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Australia, River Hebert

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