Ministry of Health
VICTORA – Health Minister Terry Lake and provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall are urging British Columbians to protect themselves, and their loved ones, from influenza by getting vaccinated this flu season.
“Each year, one out of five British Columbians will get sick from the flu,” Lake said. “We all can take simple steps to protect ourselves, and others from getting the flu including washing your hands, staying home if you feel sick, coughing into your sleeve and, of course, getting vaccinated. Together, we can fight the flu this season.”
Clinics now are open throughout the province, and British Columbians can get immunized at a wide variety of locations – from dedicated flu clinics, to their doctor’s offices or local pharmacists.
Flu shots are free in B.C. for all children aged six months to five years of age, seniors 65 years of age and older, pregnant women and Aboriginal people, as well as individuals with chronic health conditions, compromised immune systems, or those who work or live with individuals with a higher risk of complications from the flu.
This year, anyone planning to visit a loved one in a health-care facility, or those who take family members to outpatient appointments will also be eligible for a free flu shot from a licensed practitioner, such as a pharmacist, doctor or nurse.
To find the nearest flu shot clinic, call HealthLink BC at 811 or visit the Influenza Clinic Finder at: www.immunizebc.ca/clinics/flu
Influenza can be a serious illness. Each year between 2,000 and 8,000 Canadians die from its complications – most of them seniors or those with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions, such as asthma or cystic fibrosis.
British Columbians who are ineligible for the free vaccine are able to purchase it for a small fee. In addition, many workplaces offer the vaccine to their employees at onsite clinics.