Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health chief medical health officer, immunizes Victoria Schmid, Island Health’s vice-president of pandemic planning. (Submitted photo)

Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health chief medical health officer, immunizes Victoria Schmid, Island Health’s vice-president of pandemic planning. (Submitted photo)

Can’t wait for a COVID vaccine? Get the flu vaccine in the meantime, says Dr. Enns

“We’re in a pandemic, and we can’t afford to have dual viral infections.”

Dr. Charmaine Enns, medical health officer for the North Island, Strathcona and the Comox Valley is imploring people to get the flu vaccine.

“We all have enough to deal with already. We really don’t want to have to deal with flu outbreaks on top of the pandemic,” she said.

Even if the hand sanitizing, mask wearing and physical distancing reduce the risk of contracting influenza, it doesn’t make sense not to get immunized.

“With all those public health measure, we keep saying we’re buying time for a vaccine. Well, we have one for the flu,” Dr. Enns said.

“What we do know is that it’s flu season. What we do know is that we have a vaccine. What we do know is that we’re in a pandemic and we can’t afford to have dual viral infections.”

Influenza is not as deadly as COVID, but it is a serious disease, especially for elderly people or those with underlying health conditions.

“The vaccine is the most important intervention we have for the flu. For COVID, all we have are our public health measures.”

So far, North Islanders seem to be listening — there has been higher than normal demand for the vaccine, which is not unexpected. For the first time in years, public health nurses have hosted vaccination clinics, whereas in normal years the family doctors and pharmacists have been able to handle the demand.

Dr. Enns advises people to check with their normal vaccine provider first. The vaccine is being distributed in allotments to make sure everyone on the North Island gets equitable access – if a doctor or pharmacy has run out, don’t worry, they will get more.

On top of that, it’s hard not to qualify for the free vaccine in B.C. Anyone at risk for complications qualifies— that’s about 30-35 per cent, Dr. Enns said — and anyone who’s in contact with someone at risk for complications.

To get vaccinated on the North Island, check with your pharmacist or family doctor, or visit https://www.islandhealth.ca/learn-about-health/the-flu-influenza to find a local provider.

RELATED: B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca


BC Healthvaccines

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

Just Posted

U’mista Cultural Centre is closed to the public until further notice, as of Nov. 23, 2020. (Zoe Ducklow photo)
U’mista closed until further notice due to new restrictions

North Island on high alert against COVID-19

Port Hardy Rotary Christmas Float. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Rotary float returns to Port Hardy to spread much needed Christmas cheer

The Christmas Cheer Float is a festively decorated full-size semi-tractor.

Email letters to editor@northislandgazette.com and we will publish online and in print.
LETTER: Fish farms boost North Island economy

“… our local jobs, local taxation revenue, and the like will disappear!”

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Most Read