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A Snapshot of the Canadian Center for Vaccinology – Importance of Flu Vaccination during COVID-19

Updated: May 19, 2022

Dr. Langley is Head of Infectious Disease at the IWK Health Centre

“Instead of worrying about self-diagnosing, people should focus on minimizing the risk of catching any of these viruses."

As we continue to live with COVID-19, flu immunization is more important than ever to protect our lung health.

We are fortunate to have world-class team of vaccine experts here in Halifax to provide Nova Scotians the information needed to make informed decisions on vaccines and vaccine safety. The Canadian Center for Vaccinology (CCfV) located in the IWK Health Centre, is a collaboration of Dalhousie University, the IWK Health Centre and Nova Scotia Health.

Founded in 2007, the CCfV was established to develop, implement and evaluate vaccines and vaccine technology. The CCfV has an integrated, interdisciplinary research team of investigators working in three collaborative groups: Vaccine Discovery; Vaccine Evaluation; and Programs, Policy, and Implementation. The research that is conducted includes social science and humanity research which is integrated into vaccine discovery and evaluation, which helps to inform vaccination policy and practice. In addition, the CCfV has been established as the go-to experts for infectious disease vaccine and vaccine safety information. Extensive research conducted by CCfV, helps the general public feel more confident about the safety and benefits of vaccination.

While the flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, there are numerous benefits as the flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Getting the flu vaccine can help to reduce the burden on healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19. Now, more than ever, we all have to do our part to protect our lung health and protect those around us by getting vaccinated. Dr. Top, of the IWKs Division of Infectious Disease states that “the worst case scenario is a bad flu season on top of a surge of COVID-19[1],” on the overburdened healthcare system.

The experts at CCfV continue to offer Nova Scotians advice on the best ways to protect themselves against the flu in light of COVID-19. Dr. Langley, head of Infectious Disease at the IWK Health Centre advises “Instead of worrying about self-diagnosing, people should focus on minimizing the risk of catching any of these viruses. They can start by staying vigilant with mask wearing, physical distancing, and hand hygiene. Those practices can protect people from many infections including the cold, the flu, and COVID-19[2]”.

Investigators with CCfV provide information to the public through articles, media, publications and presentations, based on research that they have work extensively on. Some of the most critical flu-related studies in Canada are conducted by the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN) which is based out of CCfV. CCfV has established themselves as trusted experts in influenza research. With two sub-networks of CIRN: Canadian National Vaccine Safety Network (CANVAS) which assess vaccine safety, ensuring the safety of the flu vaccines provided to Canadians each year, and the Serious Outcomes Surveillance (SOS) completing essential work regarding flu outcomes and vaccine safety.

While the COVID-19 virus continues to rage on across Canada, it has never been more important to take a proactive approach to protecting our lung health. You can rest assured that the world class team at the CCfV continues to do their part to protect Canadians from infectious disease through their tireless vaccine and vaccine safety research. Make sure you protect yourself by getting the flu vaccine. It's FREE and easily accessible. Contact your local pharmacy or primary care provider to find the nearest location to get your flu shot.

[1] Plowman, Sarah. (09, 11, 2020). Nova Scotia orders more flu shots to meet higher demand. CTV Atlantic News. Retrieved from: Nova Scotia orders more flu shots to meet higher demand | CTV News

[2] Snan, Nebal. (09, 16, 2020). COVID-19 to complicate flu season in Nova Scotia. Saltwire: Chronicle Herald. Retrieved from: COVID-19 to complicate flu season in Nova Scotia | SaltWire

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