Two-year-old Peter Salverda gets his first flu shot at a child health clinic in Saanich. (Keili Bartlett/News staff)

Time to get flu shots is now, says Island Health

Children, seniors and people with medical conditions most at-risk of suffering from influenza

“Ow!” Joseph Salverda yells, as the six-year-old gets his first flu shot. As soon as the needle is out, though, he goes back to his smiling, friendly self.

He’s the oldest of his three siblings, including four-year-old Cherith — who doesn’t make a peep — Peter (2, lands a punch) and three-month-old Abigail. Their mother, Brittny Salverda, went first to show her young brood how it’s done, and they take turns sitting on her lap as they get inoculated.

“This is one piece in our effort to be healthy,” the mom of four said. Their young family has been hit by the flu before, “and each time it’s pretty terrible. We thought we’d make good efforts this time around to try to avoid it.”

READ MORE: Island Health reminds people to get their flu shots early

In the public health unit at the Saanich Centre, Medical Health Officer Dr. Dee Hoyano said Island Health encourages parents to get their children vaccinated against the flu.

“Now is the time to get it rather than waiting until December or January when really your chances of being exposed are much higher. It still takes a little bit of time for your body to build the protection from the vaccine, so think about getting your flu shot now,” Hoyano said.

The Public Health Agency of Canada estimates 3,500 people die of flu-related complications every year across the country, she said. Children, seniors and people with medical conditions are most at-risk for suffering from the flu.

“If you have an elderly person in your home, if you have a baby in your home or you’re in regular contact with people like that, you definitely also qualify for the flu vaccine,” she said.

“We know the flu vaccine is a very safe vaccine. It has very few side effects and it’s beneficial. It helps prevent you from getting sick and it also helps prevent your community from getting sick, because if you don’t get the flu, then you’re not going to be able to pass it on.”

While clinics offer flu shots, pharmacists throughout Greater Victoria also provide the annual vaccine, which pharmacy manager Dave Jeske said can be more convenient. At Broadmead Pharmasave where he works, they’ve seen approximately 20 to 30 per cent more people get the flu shot each year, because pharmacies have longer hours and don’t require appointments.

“I tell people it’s partly about protecting themselves, but it goes beyond that. Although people will say, ‘I won’t get the flu,’ it’s about protecting others from getting the flu,” Jeske said.

Whether or not you’ve had the flu before is not an indicator that you won’t get the flu in the future, he said, especially since the influenza strains change every year. He himself has had the flu before, and was “knocked flat” for nearly 12 days as it worked through his system. At the time he was young and healthy.

“I can’t imagine a child or elderly person going through that same process because it was very difficult.”

Once all three Salvedera kids get their shots (baby Abigail has already had hers), the nurse tells them, “You’re still brave if you cry.” By the time the family is packed up and ready to leave, the tears have dried and all the kids are smiling again.

READ MORE: Growing numbers of Vancouver Islanders get flu shots


@KeiliBartlett
keili.bartlett@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

keili.bartlett@blackpress.ca

Just Posted

Canada has enough pipelines to get the moon

Pipelines totalling 840,000 kilometres run across Canada

Christmas craft beer show coming to Victoria

50 breweries will be featured in the third annual Christmas Craft Beer Show

Canadian university profs are getting older and working longer

New statistics also show more women in Canadian university faculties

VIDEO: New UVic buildings expand student housing by 25 per cent

Over 600 new beds mean off-campus housing freed up for affordable housing for Victoria residents

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh proposes new approach to tackling opioid crisis

Singh says the government should look at harm reduction rather than punishment

First ticket sold for Victoria’s second comic con

Guest list is top-secret for the March 22-24 Capital City Comic Con coming 2019

Hunter who saved B.C. man pinned inside smashed truck says ‘God was sending me to him’

Sayward man describes chance discovery of Duncan Moffat, 23, in northern Vancouver Island woods

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Have BC Ferry waits ever forced you to cancel your travel plans?

Many BC Ferry passengers heading out from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen on… Continue reading

Road-weary Canucks thumped 6-2 by Wild

Vancouver hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Harsh storms have nearly tripled power outages in last five years, BC Hydro says

More frequent and severe storms have damaged Hydro’s electrical systems since 2013

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

Most Read