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.

Just Posted

Easter Seal’s Drop Zone gives participants chance to rappel down 13-storey Victoria building

Event supports Easter Seal’s services, specifically their camp in Shawnigan

Victoria HarbourCats edge Elks in series opener

Claire Eccles’ jersey retired at Monday’s game

ArtsAlive voting begins Thursday in Oak Bay

Residents can vote for the 2019 ArtsAlive top prize

Tackling ‘one fear after another:’ ‘Spirit Orca’ swimmers ready for next challenge

Victoria swimmers with developmental disabilities preparing for ocean relay in Great Bear Rainforest

Derelict trimaran removed from Oak Bay waters

Boat has been aground near Oak Bay Marina for over five months

WATCH: Barbers battle it out in Victoria

‘Barber Battle’ saw stylists and barbers from across North America go head-to-head

Sexting teens at risk of harms including depression, substance use: study

Use of alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana were also found to be associated with sexting

Deadline for cabinet to decide future of Trans Mountain expansion is today

International Trade Minister Jim Carr described the decision as ‘very significant’

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

Most Read