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'We are just now entering our flu season': Nova Scotians encouraged to get COVID-19 and flu vaccines

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Nova Scotians are being encouraged to get COVID-19 and flu vaccines as cold and flu season begins.

Unlike last year when there was a shortage, the shelves at most pharmacies across the province are well-stocked. Pharmacist Alicia Brine has already been busy helping customers find the typical medications that are popular this time of year.

Cough medicine is pictured in a Halifax pharmacy. (Jonathan MacInnis/CTV Atlantic)

“A lot of folks this year have been complaining of a persistent cough so they will get a cough either from COVID, flu or cold virus, and it tends to linger quite a bit long after they are feeling better. It’s normal for it to last two, three weeks,” says Brine.

Virus activity is starting to pick up across Nova Scotia.

“We are just now entering our flu season,” says Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang.

He says there seems to be lower levels of severe disease so far this year compared to the last few years.

Influenza A and the current dominant strain of COVID-19 are the most common viruses in the province right now. The number of lab confirmed cases of both influenza and COVID-19 are highest in the central and northern zones of the province, mostly affecting people 65 and older.

“Where were seeing people diagnosed is people in hospital and people in long-term care facilities, because those are the places where it’s more important to know exactly what virus you’re dealing with,” says Strang.

He says this is partially because people seem slow to roll up their sleeves.

“Not great uptake of both COVID and Influenza vaccines, even in those who are at higher risk because of age and health conditions.”

RSV cases are also rising, mostly with children between the ages of two and four.

Cold and flu season usually hits its peak after Christmas and runs through to the end of February.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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