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

Memorial gazebo to honour logging history in Woss

WFP and TimberWest have provided donations to the project

Port Hardy Fire Rescue holds house fire demo at Wakas Hall

Officer Justin Reusch, who is in charge of training for the department, put the demo together.

RDMW concerned over San Jo Main road closures

The San Josef Main Forest Service Road is scheduled for upgrades this summer

North Island students release salmon fry

180 students from kindergarten to grade seven partipcated in the program

B.C. Scientists witness first-ever documented killer whale infanticide

“It’s horrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

Vancouver Island’s Best Videos of the Week

A look at some of the best video stories from the past week ending March 23, 2018

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Musicians Sarah Harmer, Grimes join B.C. anti-pipeline protests

Musicians are in Vancouver for the Juno Awards on Sunday night

Letter to the editor: Responding to Kervin’s Corner

“With a bit of luck, it won’t be too late to save our wild, indigenous Pacific salmon”

Canadian cities hold March for our Lives events in wake of Florida shooting

Hundreds of people support the massive March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C.

Health officials called after acid spill near B.C.-Alberta border leaks into creek

Tanker truck crashed south of Dawson Creek, spilling 17,000 litres of hydrochloric acid

Embattled band Hedley plays last show in B.C. before hiatus

About 3,000 tickets had sold for final performance at Kelowna’s Prospera Place

Trudeau to exonerate B.C. First Nations chiefs hanged in 1860s

Prime Minister to absolve Tsilhqot’in chiefs in relation to deaths of 14 construction workers

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Most Read