With a new flu season approaching, two of the territory’s top health officials received their vaccinations Wednesday morning – and they’re encouraging everyone else to follow suit.

The flu shot is provided free of charge throughout the Northwest Territories to protect against influenza, which becomes most active during the winter.

Health Minister Glen Abernethy and NWT Chief Public Health Officer Dr. André Corriveau were both immunized Wednesday as flu shot clinics opened across the territory.

NWT Chief Public Health Officer Dr. André Corriveau receives his flu shot in Yellowknife Wednesday morning.

NWT Chief Public Health Officer Dr. André Corriveau receives his flu shot in Yellowknife Wednesday morning.

Like last year, this year’s flu shot offers protection against four strains of influenza – two influenza A strains and two influenza B strains.

In previous years, protection was only provided against three strains.

“That’s the new norm now,” said Dr. Corriveau. “It just increases the probability that it will hit the right strain that’s circulating.

“Even when the match is not very good, it will reduce the duration and severity of illness. You might still get [the flu], but instead of two weeks being sick you might just be sick for two or three days.

“The symptoms will be a lot milder so it’s still worthwhile.”

Every year, the World Health Organization identifies the particular strain of flu that the new vaccine will protect against.

Dr. Corriveau says approximately one in five NWT residents received the vaccination last flu season.

“We were in the 20 per cent range but it fluctuates a little bit,” he said. “We have some communities that do a really great job to get immunized and in others people seem to be more reluctant.”

Dr. Corriveau says the elderly, infants and people with chronic health conditions are at an increased risk if they get the flu. It’s also important for people around them to get immunized as well.

You can attend one of the following flu shot clinics in Yellowknife over the next three weeks:

  • Nov. 2-4 from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Northern United Place
  • Nov. 5 and Nov. 19 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Yellowknife Co-op
  • Nov. 9 and Nov. 23 from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Yellowknife Fieldhouse

For more information about the flu, click here.