Flu immunizations now available on vancouver island

From The Vancouver Island Health Authority

Public Health clinics providing free flu shots to people at high risk of complications from influenza are now underway on Vancouver Island.

 “People who are at high-risk can suffer severe complications or even death from influenza,” said Dr. Dee Hoyano, Medical Health Officer for the Vancouver Island Health Authority. “The most common complication, particularly for elderly people, is pneumonia, an infection of the lungs. Influenza can also lead to other complications for people who have heart, lung or other health conditions.”

 Free flu shots are provided to the following groups:

  • People 65 years of age and over and their caregivers
  • Children and adults with chronic health conditions and their household contacts
  • Health care workers
  • Emergency responders
  • Healthy children aged 6-59 months (up to five years)
  • Household contacts and caregivers of infants and children under five years
  • Pregnant women who will be in their 3rd trimester during the influenza season
  • Residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities
  • Owners and operators of poultry farms
  • Aboriginal peoples
  • People who are very overweight (those with a body mass index of 40 or greater)
  • Corrections officers and inmates in provincial correctional institutions
  • Those who provide care or service in potential outbreak settings housing high risk persons (e.g.crew on ships)

Even if you are a healthy adult, if you have regular contact with anyone in these high risk groups, you can help protect them by getting immunized.  Influenza is easily transmitted from person to person, even before you show symptoms.

Bring your CareCard or other government I.D. (valid driver’s license) to the clinic, and please wear a short sleeved shirt. Eligible individuals may also get their free vaccine from their doctor or pharmacy. Those not eligible for the free vaccine should contact their family doctor, local pharmacy, walk-in clinic, or travel clinic.

Flu clinic schedules are available at www.viha.ca/flu, or using the Flu Clinic Locator. For more information about the vaccine, please visit http://immunizebc.ca  or call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1.

This year, all BC healthcare workers will be immunized or wear a mask during patient interactions during flu season to protect vulnerable patients from influenza.