Needle for a good cause

by | Nov 5, 2015 | Featured, Uncategorized

Only a few people out there look forward to a free needle …

But all things considered, it’s one of the better decisions you’ll make this winter. You can thank Shopper’s Drug Mart for the vaccine on campus. If you missed the on-campus shots, they, along with Rexall, are giving out free vaccinations at their pharmacies.

The only problem with going to either of those places instead of NAIT is that Rexall and Shopper’s don’t give out free cookies and juice afterwards. NAIT’s arrangement of chairs and private rooms made it a very relaxed and efficient environment that promoted group visits, which hopefully encouraged a few timid people to join their friends. Also, there are drop-in clinics all over Alberta at health centres and community sites.

Registered Nurse Linda Shaw was in charge of the venue at NAIT. She’s our immunization and well-being consultant.

If you’re not sure about getting a flu shot, Shaw doesn’t insist that you get in line.

“I would hope that they would ask a health care professional or look on reliable sites, where they could get information and then make an informed choice.”

She points to Alberta Health Service’s website as a great place to start. There are answers to most every possible question and even some charts. One common misconception is that the flu shot actually gives you a light form of the flu virus, so I went to the website and got this: “You cannot get influenza disease from the influenza vaccine.”

So there.

In order to save some time online, I asked Shaw what question she gets asked the most.

“Do I need the flu shot this year? Lots of people say ‘Well, I had it last year, do I need it this year?’ ” Shaw said.

She said it’s a seasonal vaccine, so you need to get it once a year. The reason why it’s a new shot every year is because, as a virus, the flu is constantly changing.

“We look at what strains are happening on the other side of the world, then create immunization vaccine for those particular, most prevalent strains,” she said.

As far as the whole multiple-strain-thing goes, Shaw points out that this is somewhat irrelevant.

“If it’s not quite the same strain as what you have been immunized for, you would still have a bit of protection in that you might not be sick as long.”

The result is fewer hospital visits, less money spent on medication – all for a free shot that doesn’t have any side effects.

If you’re not in a health sciences program it’s your choice but if you’re in a health program, chances are you need the shot to be able to work, so be sure to get proof that you were there.

It’s a fast and painless procedure that can only serve to make the miseries of an Edmonton winter a little easier to bear, not just for you but for all of those around you.


Joel Semchuk

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