Public health officials continue to urge Nova Scotians to get a flu shot. The province has a reserve stock of 10,900 doses of vaccine on hold with the manufacturer. Most will be shipped to Nova Scotia and distributed next week, while some will be shared with other provinces through the national vaccine supply working group. “We are loaning 1,300 doses of vaccine to other provinces that have higher demand for flu shots, and the rest will come to Nova Scotia,” said Dr. Frank Atherton, deputy chief public health officer. “We encourage Nova Scotians, especially middle-aged adults and children under 5, to make use of this supply of vaccine and get immunized.” As flu season continues, there have been cases of severe illness and deaths across the country. Two Nova Scotians with some underlying health conditions have died of influenza. “Our thoughts are with the families of these patients,” said Dr. Atherton. “Unfortunately, we do see influenza related deaths in Nova Scotia. That’s why it’s important for Nova Scotians to get a flu shot to protect themselves and others.” The flu shot is free for all Nova Scotians. It includes vaccination against H1N1, among other strains. It is available from family doctors, family practice nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and clinics offered by Public Health Services and some workplaces. “We provided 435,000 doses of influenza vaccine this year, which is more than we’ve ever provided, and we’ve made it available through pharmacies as well as traditional places to increase the number of Nova Scotians who get immunized,” said Dr. Atherton. “Increased immunization, plus simple precautions like hand washing and coughing into your arm, help prevent the spread of the flu.” Regular updates on the flu season are posted every Wednesday on the Department of Health and Wellness website at http://novascotia.ca/dhw/cdpc/respiratory-watch.asp. The updates show trends in flu activity across the province. More information on the flu and how to avoid getting it is available at http://novascotia.ca/dhw/flu/.