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News Release

Flu shot campaign goes with online booking

Oct 05, 2011
By mid to late October, the health unit will be shipping out its first batches of influenza vaccine to local doctors and health care providers in Simcoe and Muskoka.

By mid to late October, the health unit will be shipping out its first batches of influenza vaccine to local doctors and health care providers in Simcoe and Muskoka.

Once November rolls around, the health unit’s own community flu clinics will be kicking into gear. This year, though, the program has developed an online clinic appointment booking system.

Over the last two years, people have been taking advantage of a “pick your number” system that allowed people to arrive at a clinic, receive a ticket for an assigned time and then come back at their allotted time.

While that proved efficient for the huge vaccine lineups during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, it made more sense to create a simple appointment system in a bid to avoid lineups altogether, says Laurie Stanford, manager of the vaccine preventable disease program at the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

“We know that almost all residents of Simcoe Muskoka now have access to and use the internet” Stanford said, “so we felt we could make life easier for everyone if they could just click a few buttons at the computer and be assigned a time at the clinic of their choosing.”

The health unit’s website, www.simcoemuskokahealth.org, will have a hot button on the home page that will take you directly to the clinic booking system. You’ll be able to choose the clinic you would like to attend and then select a time for your appointment.

As in recent years, the clinics will be held Wednesdays and Saturdays from Wednesday, November 2 to Saturday, November 26 throughout Simcoe and Muskoka.

“The online booking process is a new system for us,” Stanford said, “so we will be glad to hear people’s comments to help us make it even easier.”

Stanford recommends the flu shot for everyone six months of age and over, either at a health unit community flu clinic, from their health care provider or at a workplace clinic. People can also check with their local pharmacy to see if they plan to hold a clinic.

The vaccine, which covers three different strains of the flu, is the most effective means of preventing the spread of one of the most unpleasant diseases of the winter season. For the very young and the old, and for those with chronic disease, influenza can be life threatening.

A recent study showed that, across Ontario, the influenza vaccine prevents 30,000 visits to hospital emergency departments every year, as well as 1,000 hospitalizations and 300 deaths.

 

People who can’t book a clinic appointment online can call Your Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 

 


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