Prairie North Health Region’s ‘immunize or mask’ policy is in effect as of Dec. 1. The policy requires the public and all healthcare professionals to either have been immunized against the flu virus or wear a mask when entering PNHR facilities.
“It is a new policy, it came into effect this year,” said Linda Lewis, communications officer for Prairie North Health Region. “It was developed at the provincial level and the medical health officer for the province for Saskatchewan determines when that most active flu season is.
“This year he’s determined the requirement to either be immunized or wear a mask will begin Dec. 1 and flu season typically lasts until the end of March, so unless were otherwise notified this requirement will remain in effect until April 3.”
The province of Saskatchewan provides free immunization to all its residents and though they’ve scaled back their mass immunization clinics, people can still get their shots. Lewis said there are still clinics at most public health offices until the end of December.
“We’ve just received figures that indicate that 70 per cent of Prairie North Health Region employees and physicians covered by the policy have been immunized and that was as of Nov. 21. So that’s a good figure and that’s ahead of where we were last year by the end of March.
Getting a flu shot is a safe and effective way to avoid getting sick and spreading the virus. Because the influenza virus is always changing, PNHR recommend getting immunized on an annual basis.
Masks and sanitary hand gel will be available at the doors to their facilities and instructions on how to put on and take off the masks will be posted to help people unfamiliar with the procedure.
Lewis said that immunization, “is the best way to protect patients and other individuals from this serious respiratory illness.”