More than 650,000 Ontarians have received the flu shot at pharmacies this season - Ontario Pharmacists Association urges more to get the shot as protection against H1N1

TORONTO, Jan. 9, 2014 /CNW/ - More than 650,000 Ontarians have received the free flu shot at close to 2,000 pharmacies throughout the province this season, under a successful Ontario government program that has greatly improved access to the influenza vaccine.

The Ontario Pharmacists Association is urging even more Ontarians to visit their local pharmacy to receive the shot, which offers protection against three strains of flu, including H1N1.

"More Ontarians are recognizing that the most effective way to protect themselves and their families from the flu is to get the influenza vaccine every year," said Dennis Darby, CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists Association. "And increasingly, Ontarians are choosing to get the shot at their local pharmacy. It's convenient, quick, and safe."

The number of flu shots administered at pharmacies in 2013-14 has already far exceeded the 250,000 shots given in 2012-13, the first season in which Ontarians could receive the vaccine at an approved pharmacy.

In addition to getting the flu shot, there are a number of other precautions Ontarians should be taking to stay healthy this flu season - including washing their hands frequently, avoiding large crowds where viruses can spread easily, coughing or sneezing into a tissue or sleeve near the elbow, and staying home if they are feeling ill.

Several months remain in the flu season, which in Canada generally runs from mid-October to April. Pharmacists are encouraging those who haven't already received the flu shot to do so.

"It's not too late to get the influenza vaccine," said Darby. "And the sooner you get it, the better.".

About the Ontario Pharmacists Association

The Ontario Pharmacists Association represents the views and interests of more than 14,500 pharmacists, pharmacists-in-training, and pharmacy technicians across the province. With more than 8,200 members and 2,700 drug information subscribers, the Association works to evolve the practice of pharmacy, inspire excellence in patient care, and promote wellness for all Ontarians.

SOURCE Ontario Pharmacists Association

For further information:

Media contact:
Lindsay George
Manager, Communications and Membership
Ontario Pharmacists Association
416.441.0788
lgeorge@opatoday.com