There’s a simple way to ensure influenza (the flu) is not part of your fall and winter routine – get immunized against influenza! Everyone six months of age and older should get immunized against influenza.
“Getting immunized is the best way to keep us, our loved ones, our close contacts and our communities healthy. We encourage everyone to do their part to protect people against influenza, which can have tragic outcomes at all ages,” says Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health’s Chief Medical Health Officer. “We also need to protect those most at risk – including the very young who can’t be immunized (under 6 months of age) – and those with weakened immune systems.”
This year, influenza vaccination is free for everyone in B.C. aged six months and older. Those at increased risk from severe influenza and serious influenza-related complications include the following: people aged 65 years and older, children less than five years old, Indigenous people, and people with chronic health conditions.
COVID-19 and influenza vaccines are very different vaccines. If you have had or are getting a COVID-19 vaccine you do not need to delay getting an influenza vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines can be safely given at the same time or any time before or after any other live or inactivated vaccine, including the influenza vaccine.
Respiratory illnesses such as influenza and COVID-19 can also result in increased emergency room (ER) visits. Getting both the influenza and COVID-19 vaccines will not only help reduce the potential of attending the ER due to symptoms of respiratory illness, but will also help ensure Island Health’s dedicated ER physicians, nurses and clinical staff can continue to meet the care needs of patients experiencing emergencies.
Children aged six months to five years, and their families, can get the influenza shot at a public health clinic. Visit islandfluclinics.ca to find an influenza clinic near you, and call your local public health unit to book appointments.
Other eligible individuals can get the influenza shot from their local pharmacist or physician. Visit immunizebc.ca/clinics/flu/ or call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 for locations.
- Physicians can immunize all ages
- Those aged five years and up can receive the influenza vaccine at their pharmacist
- Those aged 2-17 years can also receive FluMist® from their pharmacist. Call your provider to confirm availability
It is safe to get immunized during the COVID-19 pandemic and safety protocols are in place at all locations where you can get your influenza shot. Please wear a face mask during your appointment, along with a short-sleeved shirt – and remember to bring your BC Services Card (or other Government ID such as a driver’s licence).
Immunization is the best protection against influenza. In addition, continue to wash your hands frequently, stay home when sick, maintain a safe physical distance or wear a non-medical face covering to reduce respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19.