We are heading into the fall and winter flu season when flu shots become available in Canada. They are highly recommended, particularly for people with underlying conditions, or who live with people who are immune-compromised due to conditions or medications.
But this year is different. The COVID-19 pandemic still rages on making all of us now even more conscious of taking greater health precautions.
Unfortunately, there are also more people who are highly skeptical of the effectiveness of flu shots and vaccines. Or worse, they believe that vaccines are harmful and dangerous.
Yet the World Health Organization states that globally, vaccines prevent two to three million deaths per year. On top of that, vaccines save millions more individuals from developing long term health complications from diseases like whooping cough, measles, and polio.
Currently, there are close to 100 COVID-19 vaccines in development around the world. The process from lab to clinic is a long one which involves Pre-Clinical Testing, then Phase 1 Safety Trials, Phase 2 Expanded Trials, Phase 3 Efficacy Trials, and then Approvals from national regulators.
Right now, in Canada, besides the research being done on a COVID-19 vaccine, there are more than 500 other new medicinal products in development. These include therapies focused on cancer treatments and infectious diseases as well as vaccines. The development of new medications and vaccines is expensive, but the cost is worth it when the final products save millions of lives, not just in our own country but potentially elsewhere in the world.
Pamela Fralick is the President of Innovative Medicines Canada which supports Canadian pharmaceutical companies which are discovering, developing, and marketing new vaccines and medicines.
“There are more than 4,500 clinical trials currently underway which inject millions of dollars back into our health systems, as well as into our research facilities and universities,” Fralick says. Here in Canada, new medicines and vaccines must be authorized by Health Canada after they have been rigorously tested for their safety, efficacy, and quality.
Back to the flu vaccines. Here in Alberta, the seasonal flu vaccines are free and can be obtained at any Alberta Health Services influenza immunization clinics. They are also available in some pharmacies.
Each year, there are different strains of flu which are included in the vaccines, and they become effective for prevention within 2 weeks.
Alberta Health Services states that research shows that the flu shot can lower:
- Complications in people who are high risk
- Pneumonia, hospital admissions, and deaths in older adults
- Doctor appointments, hospital admissions, and deaths in high risk patients.
This fall and winter will not be like any we have experienced before – seasonal flu and a global pandemic at the same time.
Vaccines and flu shots can help prevent the worst possible outcomes for your health, and the health of those around you.
At Health Risk Services, we provide information and resources for you to better understand how to maximize your health benefits to strengthen your overall health and immunity at this time. This is a time to address your stress, your diet, your heart health and blood pressure, your recovery from injuries or surgeries, to boost your immunity with better eating and exercise. You might also consider accessing the services of a range of health providers beyond your family doctor.
If you would like to know more about how HRS can help you, please give us a call.
Contact us at: 403-236-9430