Some things never change. That is how the story continues to unfold with Southern Health when it comes to flu shots.

Bev Unger is Regional Manager for Public Health/ Healthy Living. She says in 2017/18, there were 31,263 residents who received their flu shot. That works out to a coverage rate of 15.5%. In 2016/17 there were just over 32,000 flu shots given for a coverage rate of 15.6%. This includes all shots given by a primary care provider, a pharmacist or through public health.

According to Unger, Southern Health is historically the region with among the lowest percentage of residents who receive the flu shot. She says every year the regional health authority questions why this is and it is a topic they are continuously exploring.

"We know that there are pockets of population who may choose not to become immunized and that could be for any vaccine," says Unger, offering one explanation.

In addition, she says there could be others who have not had someone close to them get sick and therefore getting the flu shot is not a priority. Yet, year after year, Unger says they do what they can to encourage their population to get immunized.

Unger says Manitoba Health released its latest report on influenza surveillance on April 28th. The report shows that from September 1, 2017, to April 28, 2018, there were 201 lab-confirmed cases of influenza within Southern Health. That works out to 100 cases per 100,000 people. By comparison, the Winnipeg RHA also had 100 cases per 100,000, while Prairie Mountain Health and Northern RHA had about 200 per 100,000. The Interlake Eastern RHA had only 89 cases per 100,000.

Unger says there was a lower activity level of influenza in 2016/17 in Manitoba. That year Southern Health had about 122 lab-confirmed cases.