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

Friends of ‘Mac’ rally to fund young family left behind by former martial arts teacher in Surrey

‘He’s well loved,’ says operator of Fraser Heights academy where Mackenzie MacWilliams studied, worked

Bus driver assault in Vancouver once again raises safety concerns

A 49-year-old Surrey man was released on a promise to appear in court. No charge has been laid

Police food drive to help feed North Delta kids

Donations collected will go support the Rotary Club’s Starfish Pack program

Surrey burglar loses appeal on Hook & Ladder break-in conviction

The case centred on a Jan. 3, 2016 break-in at the Newton pub

‘Inventive ideas’ sought soon for Surrey One Act Festival, set to return to Whalley stage

Also planned by Royal Canadian Theatre Company is a Five Minute Play Writing Challenge

VIDEO: Killer whales hunt for seals in Vancouver harbour

Bigg’s killer whales feed on marine mammals like seals, sea lions, dolphins and even other whales

VIDEO: B.C.’s waving granny gets incredible send-off from school kids

Tinney Davidson has been waving at students on their way to school for over 11 years, but is moving in a month

Struggling B.C. adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Woman, 60, charged in connection to thefts at YVR

RCMP believe the foreign national is part of a larger organized theft group

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Worst 10 bus routes in Metro Vancouver for rider complaints

TransLink releases list, with Route 319 at the top

VIDEO: Highway One to be widened east to 264th Street in Fraser Valley

The $235 million project includes upgrades to overpasses and a rail bridge

Most Read