SASKATOON -- With flu season right around the corner and the COVID-19 pandemic upon us, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) says now is more important than ever to get the flu shot to prevent what could be a larger problem in the near future.

“By increasing our influenza immunization coverage we can actually protect our population and therefore avoid what we would call a twindemic in large numbers of influenza and COVID-19 at the same time,” said Medical Health Officer Dr. Tania Diener.

“Then we can keep our valuable health care resources available should we see a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases,”

The SHA says it will make the flu shot more accessible to the public than ever before so there will be fewer people at risk of getting sick and going to the hospital.

Flu shots will be available in acute care centres, emergency departments, family physician and nurse practitioner clinics, local pharmacies and by home care. The SHA says this season’s larger flu shot response will serve as a test to see what the future will look like when Canada does have the COVID-19 vaccine.

“In approaching this with an all hands on deck approach where every health care encounter is an opportunity to be immunized for influenza we can trial a new way to do things so when the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available we have a widespread response across the system,” said executive physician Dr. Kevin Wasko.

Flu clinics will be open to the public Monday. Anyone six months and older can receive the flu vaccine. The SHA says the vaccine is especially important for pregnant women, children, the elderly and persons with underlying health conditions.