Flu shot clinics open in Nanaimo

NANAIMO – Nearly one in three Vancouver Islanders will get the flu vaccine, according to medical health officer.

Nanaimo residents can get a shot in the arm with two flu vaccine clinics open this week.

The flu shot is free for certain groups, including seniors over the age of 65, pregnant women, aboriginal people and children under five.

An estimated one in three Vancouver Islanders were vaccinated from the flu last year, according to Dr. Paul Hasselback, who calls the number “really good.”

“If we look at what would be ideal, well some people would say we should provide it to everybody, but we’re kind of planning for that 33 to 35 per cent of the population receiving the vaccine and we do see increases in most years,” he said.

Hasselback said the vaccine has improved significantly since last year when the vaccine did not recognize the circulating influenza strain, H3N2. This year it covers B strains, H1N1 and H3N2.

Vaccines are recommended for vulnerable groups, like those with chronic health conditions and seniors, where the flu can lead to complications like pneumonia and dehydration.

There have been no influenza outbreaks to date on Vancouver Island.

Flu clinics happen today (Nov. 12) at the Moose Hall from 9- 11:30 a.m. and Friday (Nov. 13) at Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, from 1-3 p.m. For more information, please visit www.viha.ca/flu.

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