Annual flu shot season begins

Doctors' offices, clinics and pharmacies have begun the annual influenza vaccination program, which is free for seniors and children between six and 23 months old.

B.C. Health Minister Mike de Jong gets his flu shot from pharmacist David Pavan at the B.C. legislature Monday.

VICTORIA – Doctors’ offices, clinics and pharmacies have begun the annual influenza vaccination program, which is free for seniors and children between six and 23 months old.

Others eligible for the vaccine at no charge include health care and emergency workers, caregivers for seniors and children under two years old, pregnant women in their third trimester during winter flu season, aboriginal people and those who are very obese.

Other B.C. residents not in high-risk groups can get a flu shot by paying a dispensing fee. The influenza vaccine is formulated each year to target the dominant strains of the respiratory virus that infects between 10 and 20 per cent of the population each year.

The vaccine program was expanded in 2009 with the emergence of the H1N1 strain around the world. With pharmacists trained to provide the injections, about 40 per cent of B.C. residents received the vaccine in the largest mass immunization in Canadian history.

There were 55 deaths in B.C. related to H1N1, mostly of people with underlying medical conditions. Hundreds of people die each year from seasonal influenza.

“Influenza vaccination is a great way to avoid infection with influenza viruses and to protect other, more vulnerable individuals,” said Dr. Perry Kendal, B.C.’s provincial health officer. “And of course, it is still important to follow basic hygiene practices, such as washing your hands and coughing into your sleeve, and staying home when you are feeling sick.”

B.C. residents can find the nearest flu shot clinic by calling HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 or using the online B.C. flu clinic locator.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Ridge Meadows Hospital executive director an “out-of-the-box” thinker

Rich Dillon brings years of valuable experience with Vancouver Coastal Health

Maple Ridge volunteers honoured for decades of service

Community Services held special ceremonies for volunteers John Work and Rodger White

LETTER: Horgan has gall wasting taxpayer money amid COVID

Senior upset by election call at a time when she can’t even afford her prescriptions

OUR VIEW: Election could well backfire on Horgan

Are voters angry enough to cast NDP out, after sending us to the polls in the middle of a pandemic?

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

VIDEO: COVID won’t dampen Lower Mainland woman’s Halloween spirit

Langley’s Tanya Reid posted video offering suggestions of how trick-or-treating might look for her

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Father hopes journey to aviation-safety program inspires hope

Former South Surrey resident Greg Sewell hasn’t given up on quest to mandate older-plane retrofits

Most Read