Three influenza strains

Three influenza strains

Flu vaccine now available

Seniors over 65, toddlers between six and 23 months of age and caregivers for either can line up to get their free flu vaccine beginning Friday (Oct. 14).

Seniors over 65, toddlers between six and 23 months of age and caregivers for either can line up to get their free flu vaccine beginning Friday (Oct. 14).

Also, aboriginal people, those with a chronic health condition or those who are obese, and others at higher risk of contracting the flu or working in a potential outbreak setting are also eligible for the free shot in the arm.

“The vaccine is the most effective way to protect yourself from flu epidemics that happen every year,” said Dr. Murray Fyfe, medical health officer with Vancouver Island Health Authority.

While cold and stomach flu viruses made the rounds in past months, Fyfe points out it’s still early for more serious influenza attacks, which usually affect people between November and January.

“It’s best to get vaccinated as soon as you can,” he said. “It takes about two weeks for your system to build up immunity to the flu strains in the vaccine.”

This year’s flu shot includes protection from H1N1 and two other strains of the virus.  Fyfe expects a fairly regular flu season this year, given there haven’t been outbreaks of new viruses in other parts of the world.

Still, it’s no guarantee.

“Flu viruses are very unpredictable and can mutate mid-season,” he said, explaining that is why people who are vaccinated may still get the flu.

While some are skeptical about the safety and effectiveness of the flu shot, Fyfe said the benefits outweigh the risks.

“Some people will experience local pain or swelling in the arm the vaccine goes in, for up to a day or two,” he said. Compared to a week in bed with a fever that can lead to pneumonia and sometimes more severe symptoms, discomfort from the vaccine is very mild.”

VIHA ordered 200,000 doses of the vaccine for the Island. Those eligible for a free shot need to show some form of government ID at the drop-in flu clinics. Times and locations, as well as eligibility criteria, are listed at www.viha.ca/flu.

Others can get the vaccine from their family doctor or at a walk-in clinic.

editor@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cathy Armstrong, executive director of the Land Conservancy, Paul Nursey CEO of Destination Greater Victoria and Saanich Coun. Susan Brice helped to kick off the annual Greater Victoria Flower Count at Abkhazi Garden Monday. This year, the flower count is less about rubbing the region’s weather in the rest of Canada’ faces, and more about extending a bouquet of compassion and love. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
2021 Greater Victoria Flower Count sows seeds of compassion

Friendly flower count competition runs from March 3 to 10

The Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre has reopened with 45 shelter spots for people experiencing homelessness in Victoria. (Courtesy of Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre)
Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre shelter in Victoria reopens with spots for 45 people

Arena is an interim step until long-term housing is found

(Black Press Media file photo)
A disruptive rider was forced to leave a BC Transit bus on Monday morning. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Greater Victoria students lose bid for transit commission voting seat

Commission members took issue over students not being elected officials

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 80+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

This poster, spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19 restrictions, has been popping up in communities across Vancouver Island.
UPDATED: Poster popping up in Island communities falsely claiming COVID restrictions are over

Unattributed poster claims COVID restrictions ended March 1; Island Health responds

Most Read