Saskatchewan is getting ready to combat the flu once again.
The influenza vaccine will be offered in the province beginning Oct. 23.
The vaccine will be available in a wide variety of places including many public health offices and pharmacies. Some physicians and nurse practitioners also offer the shot.
Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, said it is important to get the flu shot early before the season begins, specifically the last week of October and first week of November.
Shahab added those most at risk for complications from the flu include people over 65, anyone with a chronic health condition, women who are pregnant and children under five.
Once again, the flu mist won’t be available to children in Saskatchewan.
“We did offer the flu mist for a couple of years, it was well received (and) parents loved it, but there were some concerns about its effectiveness especially for one strain, the H1N1 strain,” Shahab said, adding they may look at bringing the mist back in the future.
Shahab said the province follows what happens in the southern hemisphere when forecasting the flu season.
He said the prevalent strain this year causes more outbreaks, and more severe illness in seniors.
Shahab said despite the vaccine becoming more available, the number of people getting the shot has been on the decline.
“Our numbers have gone down from one in three, to around one in four,” Shahab said.
He said during the flu pandemic in 2009-10, half the province’s population received the vaccine.
Last year, about 300,000 people got the vaccine and the province has received 350,000 doses for 2017-18.