Ontario's health minister helped Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. kick off the flu immunization season.

Shoppers Drug Mart, Deb Matthews, minister of Health and Long-Term Care, flu shot, flu season, Ontario's health minister, Dominic Pilla, Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist, Hitesh Pandya, flu vaccination, immunization, pharmacists in Ontario

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Ontario's health chief gets flu shot at Shoppers Drug Mart

October 25th, 2013

TORONTO – Ontario's health minister helped Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. kick off the flu immunization season.

Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews is administered a flu shot from Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist and associate-owner Hitesh Pandya.

Deb Matthews, minister of Health and Long-Term Care, received a flu shot Thursday from a Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist Hitesh Pandya to demonstrate the importance of getting an annual flu vaccination as well as the convenience that pharmacies offer those seeking an immunization.   

"Getting a flu shot is the most reliable way to prevent the flu. That's why it's important for families to add the flu shot to their to-do list this flu season," Matthews said. "Pharmacists are trusted health care professionals, and now that they can provide the flu shot in Ontario, it's easier than ever to protect yourself and your family from the flu."

Shoppers Drug Mart noted that 2013-14 marks the second flu season that pharmacists in Ontario have been able to administer flu vaccinations.

Fall is a good time to get the vaccine because it takes two weeks after immunization for protection to take hold, and it will last about six months, said the drug chain, which provides flu vaccines on a walk-in basis at all of its pharmacies. Customers also can book an appointment online at shoppersdrugmart.ca/flushot.

"We are happy to see Minister Matthews' dedication to keeping Ontarians healthy this flu season," stated Domenic Pilla, president and chief executive officer of Shoppers Drug Mart. "With more than 600 Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacies across the province offering flu vaccinations, it's more convenient for Ontarians to follow Minister Matthews' lead and take this important step in protecting themselves and their families from the flu."

Citing information from Alberta Health Services, Shoppers Drug Mart noted that the flu vaccine prevents 70% to 90% of influenza cases. Health Canada reports that 3.4 million to 8.6 million Canadians get the flu each year and, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada,  2,000 to 8,000 people die annually from flu complications.

"Pharmacists are among the most accessible health care professionals," commented Pandya, who's a Shoppers Drug Mart associate-owner. "Having pharmacists administer flu shots provides Ontarians with more convenient options to protect themselves this flu season."