Get shot to beat the bug

People are being encouraged to get their flu shots early to beat the bug.

The influenza vaccine is currently available throughout the province at public health clinics, pharmacies, nurse practitioners' and physicians' offices.

The flu shot is free for British Columbians and their close contacts who are:

  • children between six months and five years old;
  • seniors 65 and older;
  • pregnant women;
  • Indigenous people;
  • individuals with chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems;
  • anyone who lives with any of these people; and
  • visitors to long-term care facilities and hospitals.

Across Canada, thousands of people are hospitalized from influenza and about 3,500 Canadians die from the flu and its complications each year. Influenza causes more deaths than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined.

"The flu is a highly contagious disease from which people can take actions to protect themselves," said provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall. "Getting your flu shot early and washing your hands frequently can help protect yourself, and others, from contracting and spreading the flu."

Pharmacists throughout the province are trained and authorized to give vaccinations.

Hospitalized patients and seniors in residential care are more vulnerable to influenza than healthy adults. To help protect them, all health authority employees, students, physicians, residents, contractors, vendors, volunteers and visitors to health-care facilities must get immunized by Dec. 1, or wear a mask when in a patient care area. The vaccine is offered free for these groups as well.

To find the nearest flu shot clinic, call HealthLink BC at 811 or visit the Influenza Clinic Finder.

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