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

Just Posted

VicPD catches impaired driver near elementary school

Citizens alerted police to driver near James Bay Community School

Victoria’s Belfry Theatre hosts its first ‘relaxed performance’ for a diverse audience

Performance of Every Brilliant Thing is first to pilot the option

Car crash at Quadra and Finalyson Streets affects Saturday traffic

VicPD and the Victoria Fire Department responded

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

Most Read