Flu shot clinics available

The Vancouver Island Health Authority wants the public to consider protecting themselves this flu season.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority wants the public to consider protecting themselves, their families and those they come in contact with by getting a flu shot this season.

“With the flu season already upon us, we want to remind everyone about the importance of getting immunized,” said Dr. Murray Fyfe, VIHA’s medical health officer. “It is the easiest thing you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting the flu. The flu can also lead to other infections including viral or bacterial pneumonia which affect the lungs.”

The vaccine includes protection from H1N1 as well as two other strains.

“The vaccine is the same as last year’s, however, immunity does not last which is why getting an annual flu shot is so important,” said Fyfe. “The earlier you get your shot in the flu season, the sooner you will be protected throughout the season.”

Starting in mid-October, VIHA is providing public flu immunization clinics in communities across the Island to the following groups who are eligible for free flu shots:

* People 65 years of age and over and their caregivers.

* Children and adults with chronic health conditions and their household contacts.

* Health-care workers and emergency responders.

* Healthy children ages six months to 23 months.

* Household contacts and caregivers of infants newborn to 23 months old.

* Pregnant women who will be in their third trimester during the influenza season.

* Residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities.

* Owners and operators of poultry farms.

* Aboriginal peoples.

* People with a body mass index of 40 or greater.

* Corrections officers and inmates in provincial correctional institutions.

Bring your CareCard or other government identification when you get your flu shot.

Those not eligible for the free flu vaccine program should contact their family doctor, local pharmacy, walk-in clinic or travel clinic.

For information on flu clinic schedules, please visit VIHA’s web site at www.viha.ca/flu.

For more information about the flu vaccine, please visit http://immunizebc.ca.