MANITOBA GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES NEW FLU CAMPAIGN, ANNOUNCES GREATER ACCESS TO IMMUNIZATION FOR MANITOBANS - - - Because It's About Them Too. Get Vaccinated. Don't Spread the Flu: Minister Selby Getting immunized against the flu will be easier for Manitobans this year with access to more health-care professionals able to administer the flu vaccines and additional locations including pharmacies, new ACCESS centres and QuickCare clinics, Health Minister Erin Selby announced today. "With more than 530 pharmacists now certified to administer drugs by injection, five new ACCESS centres and four QuickCare clinics now open for service, Manitobans have more options to get their flu vaccine," said Minister Selby. "Providing increased access to immunization is a priority for our government to ensure that Manitobans can protect themselves against the flu and protect those at increased risk of serious illness from the flu, their caregivers and close contacts." With this year's new campaign slogan, 'Because it's About Them Too. Get Vaccinated. Don't Spread the Flu.', the Manitoba government hopes to motivate more people to get immunized, the minister said. "The flu can spread easily from one person to another through coughing, sneezing or by touching objects contaminated with the flu virus and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose," said Dr. Michael Routledge, chief provincial public health officer. "I encourage Manitobans to think about not only their health, but the health of others in their community and get immunized as it is one of the best ways to prevent infection." "The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is pleased to have First Nation engagement in this year's provincial flu campaign. We encourage our communities to be healthy and stay healthy. The First Nations population is at a higher risk due to many contributing factors, such as overcrowding and lack of indoor plumbing. With that, I encourage all First Nations to get vaccinated, especially our infants, our elders, and those suffering from chronic diseases, such as diabetes. Protect our circle of life, it is easier to prevent than to cure, immunize today," said Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. A key component to having more Manitobans immunized is the recent addition of pharmacists as legislated immunization providers, Minister Selby said. In addition to newly certified, experienced pharmacists, all new graduates of the University of Manitoba's faculty of pharmacy are now receiving the necessary training to provide future patients with this service. "Manitoba pharmacists are trained drug therapy experts so expanding their scope of practice to include administering injections is not only a natural extension of pharmacists' current role on the health-care team, but it also increases access to the flu vaccinations in smaller rural communities across the province," says Glenda Marsh, president, College of Pharmacists of Manitoba. "Now many Manitobans can visit their local pharmacy to get the flu shot from the pharmacist that they know and trust." Those wishing to be immunized by their pharmacist should call in advance to make an appointment. It should be noted that pharmacists can administer vaccines to patients seven years of age and older. Again this year, the seasonal flu vaccine is available free-of-charge to all Manitobans over six months of age. Although everyone should get the vaccine, those at increased risk of serious illness from the flu, their caregivers and close contacts are especially encouraged to get their immunization against this virus. Those at increased risk include: * seniors aged 65 or older, * residents of a personal care home or long-term care facility, * health-care workers and first responders, * children under five, * individuals of Aboriginal ancestry, * those with chronic illness, * people who are severely overweight or obese, and * healthy pregnant women. This year, Manitoba children and adolescents two to 17 years are eligible to receive publicly funded live attenuated influenza vaccine (FluMist), provided they do not have any contraindications. For more information on FluMist, including a fact sheet, go to Manitoba's Seasonal Influenza Immunization Program website at www.gov.mb.ca/health/flu/index.html.