With ’flu season now upon us, the Northwestern Health Unit here is doing its best to ward off the illness this winter with a series of free immunization clinics around the district.
“At first, these types of clinics were only designed for those people who were at a high-risk for the ’flu,” said Cindy McKinnon, a public health nurse with the health unit here. “They targeted seniors, children, and people with respiratory problems like asthma.
“But then the emergency departments were getting overwhelmed with sick people coming in with the ’flu every year so to take the pressure off the emergency departments, [the provincial government] decided to set up these clinics for the general public.
“I believe this is the first of its kind in Canada and the United States.”
The first clinic in Fort Frances, which was held Monday at St. Francis School, attracted a large turnout of people, which pleased the nurses from the health unit.
“We had 170 people show up to get immunized,” said McKinnon. “We were very happy to see so many people coming in to take advantage of these free clinics.
“There was such a wide cross-section of people who attended [Monday’s] clinic,” she added. “We had seniors, babies, children, and adults coming in to get immunized.
“We were very pleased with the outcome.”
The flu shot clinics are scheduled to run the rest of the month, and into early December, with a possibility of extending them if the public demand is great enough.
“Our last clinic will be on Dec. 4 at Sixth Street School,” McKinnon noted. “However, if there seems to be a need for another clinic, we will hold another one at the health unit.
“We just want people to take the opportunity to get the shot and protect themselves this season,” she stressed.
For more information on these immunization clinics, contact the Northwestern Health Unit at 274-9827.