Do you really have time for the flu? Get immunized. Get protected.

It’s time to invest in yourself – your health, your family and your community – with a flu shot. Island Health is helping launch this year’s province-wide flu campaign by encouraging people of all ages to get their flu shot early to help ward off influenza.

“I urge all British Columbians to get the flu shot,” says Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Being immunized will keep you from having to take time off from work and from missing out on other activities with family and friends. And, more importantly, it can help protect people with compromised immune systems from serious complications and possibly death.”  

“Flu season can have devastating consequences for people who cannot be immunized, the frail and the elderly,” says Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer. “Take a few minutes out of your busy day to get a flu shot and boost your body’s defences against influenza viruses.”

“No one has time for the flu,” says Dr. Richard Stanwick, Chief Medical Health Officer for Island Health. “As the busy holiday season approaches, the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to get immunized – especially when combined with other recommended steps, such as regular hand-washing.” 

Where can I get my flu shot in B.C.?

Adults and seniors can get the flu shot from their local pharmacist or physician. Please check with your provider for availability.
•    Visit immunizebc.ca/clinics/flu/
•    Call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 for locations

Where can I get my flu shot on the Island?

Eligible children, youth and their caregivers are invited to get their flu shot at a public health clinic. 
•    Visit islandfluclinics.ca to find a flu clinic near you.
•    The flu vaccine may also be available from pharmacists (ages five and up) and physicians. Call your provider to confirm availability.

Can I get a free flu shot?

Children (six months to five years), seniors (65+ years), pregnant women, Aboriginal peoples, and children and adults with chronic health conditions and their household contacts are among those eligible for a free flu shot. 

Hospitalized patients and seniors in residential care are more vulnerable to influenza than healthy adults. To help protect them, all health authority employees, students, physicians, residents, contractors, vendors, volunteers and visitors to health-care facilities must get immunized by December 2 or wear a mask when in a patient care area. The vaccine is offered free for these groups as well. 

If you qualify for a free flu vaccine, you can get one anywhere that is authorized to administer the vaccine – your doctor’s office, a licensed pharmacy, walk-in clinic or public health clinic.

Find out if you are eligible for the free flu vaccine at www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/inactivated-influenza-vaccine.

If you are not eligible, you may receive a flu vaccine for a fee through your family doctor or pharmacist. 

Flu facts:

  • Influenza (the flu) is among the top 10 leading causes of death in Canada, estimated to cause about 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths annually. 
  • The flu is an infection of the upper airway (nose and throat) caused by the influenza virus. The flu virus spreads between people through breathing, coughing and sneezing.
  • Getting immunized is the best protection against the flu, and complements other prevention measures, such as hand-washing and staying home when sick.
  • Flu symptoms include fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue and cough. 
  • The term "flu" is often used to describe other illnesses, such as a cold or stomach virus. However, flu symptoms are usually prolonged and more severe than a cold, and do not usually include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea (see Is it influenza or a cold?). 

For more information, visit immunizebc.ca or call 8-1-1 to speak to a health professional. 

Media contacts:         

Ministry of Health Communications:
250-952-1887 (media line)

Island Health:
Dominic Abassi – Central/North Island 
250-755-7966
Dominic.Abassi@viha.ca

Cheryl Bloxham – Cowichan/South Island 
250-370-8878
Cheryl.bloxham@viha.ca