A nurse prepares a flu shot. The vaccine for the 2019-2020 flu season is now in pharmacies and clinics. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Flu shots now available in pharmacies and clinics

15 locations in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

The 2019-2020 flu shot arrived in pharmacies, walk-in clinics and doctor’s offices in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows earlier this week.

The flu shots are generally administered throughout late October and November, in advance of the December-February peak flu season. The shot includes immunization against both the H1N1 and H3N2 influenza A virus strains and either one or two influenza B viruses.

Approximately 3,500 people die from the flu in Canada each year, with the majority being senior citizens, according to Fraser Health.

According to a recent survey conducted by Insights West, about half of those who plan to get the shot will do so at a pharmacy – 49 per cent, which is up eight points from last year.

Walk-in clinics in Maple Ridge are having those wanting a flu shot put their name on a list, and return in a number of hours for their shot.

There are online appointment booking and walk-in options at pharmacies to make it more convenient for people to get immunized.

As with any immunization, getting your flu shot protects everyone through herd immunity, explained Tasleem Juma, Fraser Health spokesperson.

“It’s the best way to protect against getting the flu yourself, but also protect people who can’t get the flu shot,” she said.

Babies under six months of age, people with vaccine allergies and those with some other rare conditions cannot get a flu shot.

The shot is administered free to a large percentage of the population, including children six months and five years old, seniors 65 years old and older, pregnant women, Aboriginal people and individuals with chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems. People who work or live with others at higher risk of complications from the flu, as well as visitors to health care facilities are also eligible for a free vaccine.

For those with needle anxiety, there is a new “ouchless” method using numbing cream.

B.C. health authorities require doctors, staff, students and volunteers to get immunized or wear a mask during the flu season. To further protect patients, unvaccinated visitors to Fraser Health facilities are asked to wear a mask, beginning December 1, 2017. Masks will be available at nursing stations and/or outpatient reception desks.


 

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