The Interior Health Authority is gearing up to help protect children, pregnant women, seniors, people with chronic illnesses and others who are most at risk from influenza and its complications.
This year’s flu shot offers protection against two influenza A viruses (an H1N1 and an H3N2 virus) and one influenza B virus. For those under 18, the preferred vaccine also protects against an additional B influenza virus.
“Influenza reduces the body’s ability to fight illnesses and infections and it can also increase a person’s risk for developing other serious conditions, including viral or bacterial pneumonia,” said Dr. Kamran Golmohammadi, medical health officer.
“Getting a flu shot and washing your hands frequently are the two most effective ways to protect yourself and others from influenza and its complications.”
The flu shot is free for those at risk of complications from influenza and those in contact with people at risk. This includes:
People 65 years and older and their caregivers/household contacts
People of any age in residential care facilities
Children and adults with chronic health conditions and their household contacts
Children and adolescents (6 months to 18 years) with conditions treated for long periods of time with Aspirin (ASA) and their household contacts
Children and adults who are morbidly obese
All children 6-59 months of age
Household contacts and caregivers of infants and children 0-59 months of age
Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy during the influenza season and their household contacts
Visitors to hospitals, health centres and residential care facilities
People who work with live poultry
Health-care and other care providers in facilities and community settings who are capable of transmitting influenza disease to those at high risk of influenza complications
People who provide care or service in potential outbreak settings housing high-risk persons
People who provide essential community services (first responders, corrections workers)
To find a flu shot clinic or provider near you, watch for local announcements on dates and times in your community, contact your local public health centre or visit the Influenza Clinic Locator (immunizebc.ca/clinics/flu).
For information visit, www.interiorhealth.ca.