Eligible British Columbians who want to protect themselves and their families from getting the flu and its complications this year are now able to get vaccinated at flu clinics throughout the province, announced Minister of Health Michael de Jong.
Flu vaccinations are available from a variety of health-care providers, including family physicians, walk-in clinics, pharmacies and dedicated flu clinics. The vaccine is provided free of charge to high-risk groups and their regular contacts. All other British Columbians are able to purchase the vaccine for a fee.
Those eligible for the free vaccine include:
- People 65 and older and their caregivers.
- Children and adults with chronic health conditions and their household contacts.
- Health-care workers.
- Emergency responders.
- Healthy children between six months and 23 months of age.
- Household contacts and caregivers of children under two years old.
- Pregnant women who will be in their third trimester during influenza season.
- Residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities.
- Owners and operators of poultry farms.
- Aboriginal peoples.
- People who are very obese (those with a body mass index of 40 or greater).
- Corrections officers and inmates of provincial correctional institutions.
- People who provide care or service in potential outbreak settings that house high risk persons (such as crew on a ship).
Every year, influenza infects 10 to 20 per cent of the population, causing illness, lost productivity, and unnecessary hospitalizations. In B.C., hundreds die as a result each year. While most people recover completely from the flu, vulnerable populations can suffer serious consequences, including death.
To find your nearest flu shot clinic, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 or visit the B.C. Flu Clinic Locator at: www.health.gov.bc.ca/flu/
Provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall -
"Influenza vaccination is a great way to avoid infection with influenza viruses and to protect other, more vulnerable individuals. 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."
BC Pharmacy Association CEO Marnie Mitchell -
"More than 1,300 pharmacists across British Columbia are authorized to administer injections. Community pharmacists are a quick and easy option for anyone wanting a flu shot, with the vaccine free for patients in at-risk groups."
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)