As the leaves start to fall and the weather turns cold, so too does another season begin; Influenza season.
But the good news is that vaccinations are available for all those wanting to get their shot.
Influenza vaccines protect against viruses that cause influenza, often called the flu. The vaccine does not protect against other viruses or bacteria that cause colds or stomach flu.
The availability of vaccine was delayed. Typically shots start in early October but production problems delayed delivery this flu season.
Now public health units, doctors offices and pharmacies will be playing catch up.
Aletta Vanderheyden, senior consultant of public affairs with Fraser Health, said flu shots are safe, effective and free for many people in B.C. including children, seniors, pregnant people, Indigenous people, those with underlying medical or chronic health conditions, and those who work with or come in close contact with higher-risk groups.
“By getting a flu shot, following physical distancing measures, washing our hands, and wearing a mask, we can ‘level up’ and ensure we are keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe,” she explained.
Since COVID-19 is continuing to impact communities in the region, Vanderheyden said it is important to also remember that good COVID-19 sense makes for good flu sense, too.
There are three options to get your free influenza vaccine:
· Book an appointment with a family doctor or local pharmacist.
· With COVID-19, many communities are setting up larger influenza vaccine clinics. A family doctor or pharmacist may have more information on these as they are set up.
· For children six months to four years (inclusive) can schedule a flu shot at their local Public Health clinic. Public Health family flu clinics are available for children six months to four years.
Pharmacies, clinics, or not at all
A new poll by Insights West is showing that people are changing where they get their jabs.
Four in 10 who plan to get a shot say they will go to a pharmacy to get the vaccinations.
About one in 10 people say they will go to public health clinics and about one quarter say they turn to their doctors when it comes time to get the needle.
The results also showed that about one in 10 people will get their flu vaccinations at their places of work.
The survey also delved into people who opt not to get flu shots.
Some Canadians still cite a lack of convenience as a deterrent to getting the flu shot.
Among those Canadians who said they don’t plan to get vaccinated this year, the poll found that one in 10 say it is too much hassle and two in 10 indicated that they just won’t get around to it.
Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older should get a yearly influenza vaccination with rare exception.
Where to go
Pregnant women, seniors 65 and older, people with chronic conditions, and children and their families can get the shots for free.
To see who qualifies for a free flu shot, visit www.fraserhealth.ca/health-topics-a-to-z/immunizations/flu-shots/getting-your-flu-shot
If someone is not eligible for a free influenza vaccine, they may purchase it at your local pharmacy or travel clinic.
For those who rather avoid getting a prick, nasal spray vaccine will be available at health units, some pharmacies and some doctors’ offices.
Pharmacists will be able to give the nasal spray flu vaccine to children 2 years of age and older.
People are encouraged to phone ahead or visit their websites of instructions.
In Aldergrove, pharmacies that have flu shots available include;
Save-On Foods Pharmacy – 26310 Fraser Highway
Shoppers Drug Mart Pharmacy – 26310 Fraser Highway
FreshCo Pharmacy – 27566 Fraser Highway
People can visit https://immunizebc.ca/clinics/ for more details.
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