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Flu shot uptake in children ‘too low,’ P.E.I. CPHO says

With flu instances on the rise within the province, P.E.I.’s Chief Public Well being Officer is urging dad and mom to get their younger youngsters a flu shot. 

Presently, simply 19 per cent of youngsters underneath the age of 10 have gotten a vaccine.

“I do assume that is too low,” mentioned Dr. Heather Morrison, the province’s chief public well being officer. “Alternatively, we have had nice uptake of our excessive dose influenza for individuals who are 65 years of age and up.”

Morrison mentioned there are some clinics on the weekend in Charlottetown by way of public well being nursing and appointments can be found “to actually assist those that might not be capable to come throughout the week.”

By Dec. 3 there have been 155 lab-confirmed instances, in accordance with a P.E.I. authorities web site. The median age of instances to this point is 14 years previous. The location says there was “widespread flu activity” final week on P.E.I. with flu exercise “above anticipated ranges for this time of 12 months.”

‘They’re getting higher now’

With out vaccines, youngsters 4 and underneath are most susceptible to being hospitalized, Morrison mentioned. That is precisely what occurred to Island resident Shidhin Philip’s youngest son, Adam, who was lower than a month previous when he was hospitalized with influenza and RSV.

A baby lies wrapped in a pink blanket lying in a hospital bed.
Shidhin Philip’s youngest baby, Adam, on the QEH when he was sick with RSV and influenza at lower than a month previous. (Submitted by Shidhin Philip)

“We had been actually scared,” mentioned Philip. “However we all know we took him to the hospital on the proper time, in order that was a superb determination.”

On Wednesday, Philip introduced two of his older youngsters to the youngsters’s clinic in Sherwood to get their flu shot.

“All of them had the flu, the sore throat, operating nostril, they’d fever, they had been throwing up. They had been absent from faculty for 2 weeks,” Philip mentioned. “They’re getting higher now, I do not wish to get it again once more. So I took the appointment for the flu shot at the moment.”

A man in a puffy green jacket wraps his arms around his two daughters, who stand on either side of him.
Shidhin Philip and two of his 4 youngsters, Angel and Anna, outdoors a vaccination clinic in Charlottetown. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

However he says having vaccines obtainable at public faculties would make it simpler for busy dad and mom to get their youngsters vaccinated.

“They’ll ship the paper residence, we will signal the consent,” he mentioned. “As a substitute of creating an appointment or ready [a] very long time, you understand, it may well end in at some point.”

Morrison says there are some logistical points with making the vaccine obtainable in faculties, however it’s one thing the province is probably trying into for future years. 

“It is one thing that we actually could be very open to having that dialog with schooling, public well being, nursing, Well being P.E.I,” she mentioned. “It has been one thing that has been mentioned through the years.”

Within the meantime, she encourages dad and mom to make an appointment and hopes sturdy messaging, mixed with the current spike in flu instances, will inspire dad and mom to e-book their children’ pictures.

“Kids are in school, and actions, we’re all busy,” she mentioned. “But when we will get it now, get our kids vaccinated, ourselves vaccinated, it should defend us in time for the vacations.”

Go to P.E.I.’s weekly influenza summary and flu vaccination clinics web sites for extra info.

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