News

Jets say "gimme a shot"

Hockey players raise awareness about influenza immunization

Winnipeg Jets centre Nik Antropov receives his flu shot from Public Health Nurse Jennifer Davidson.
Winnipeg Jets centre Nik Antropov receives his flu shot from Public Health Nurse Jennifer Davidson.

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Tuesday November 15, 2011
Updated Wednesday November 16, 2011

The Winnipeg Jets took a shot in the arm today, as they helped raise awareness of the importance of being immunized against influenza.

"Remaining in top health throughout a long, grinding hockey schedule is difficult. It's my responsibility as a leader to do everything I can to make sure I don't miss any action. Part of that is getting a flu shot every winter," said team captain Andrew Ladd.

Players who attended the flu shot clinic were Nik Antropov, Alex Burmistrov, Eric Fehr, Ron Hainsey, Jason Jaffray, Bryan Little, Chris Mason, Ondrej Pavelec, Tim Stapleton, Mark Stuart and Kyle Wellwood. Assistant coach Charlie Huddy, general manager Kevin Donnelly and chairman Mark Chipman also received their flu shots from Winnipeg Health Region nurses at the MTS Centre.

When you have large groups of people coming together, such as an audience at National Hockey League games, there's an increased risk of transmission of germs and viruses, such as the influenza virus, according to Arlene Wilgosh, President and CEO of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

"We'd like Jets fans and every member of the public to get vaccinated so they don't get the flu and miss a game or any other important event," said Wilgosh prior to the team's shots.

The flu shot protects against three of the most common strains of influenza that the World Health Organization expects to circulate this season. So far this year more than 40,000 people have received their vaccination at one of the Winnipeg Health Region clinic locations. Many more will have gotten theirs from their family physician.

Dr. Michael Routledge, Medical Director, Population and Public Health with the Winnipeg Health Region, says people in all age groups can benefit from getting a flu shot.

"There are individuals who we highly recommend to get the shot, such as those with chronic illness, seniors and young children. But because each flu season is unique and different strains of influenza may affect different age groups, we also strongly encourage everyone else to get the shot to stay healthier this season," said Routledge.

Provincial Health Minister Theresa Oswald thanked the team members for helping to raise awareness about the issue.

"This is an important public health issue, so we are very pleased to (be a) partner with the Jets to raise awareness about it. Getting your annual flu shot is an easy way to protect yourself, your family and those around you from this illness, which can be quite debilitating," said Oswald.

Members of the public can call 956-SHOT or click here for location listings, hours of operation and other information about the influenza vaccination. Individuals can also visit their physician or Winnipeg Health Region Community Area Offices to get the flu shot.

Additional information is also available at the province's seasonal flu web page at www.manitoba.ca/flu.

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