Interior Health (IH) is cautioning that this year, the influenza vaccine is more important than ever, in order to protect people as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious illness, hospitalization, and death. Its symptoms are similar to those of COVID-19, and people are being encouraged to make plans now to schedule an appointment to get the flu shot and be prepared for flu season, which typically starts in November.
The fear is that influenza could spread rapidly through communities at the same time as COVID-19, potentially overwhelming the health care system.
Vaccine supplies have now arrived, and Interior Health has set up targeted clinics for high-risk, vulnerable people. They are also working in partnership with doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and licensed nurse practitioners to ensure the widest distribution possible of the influenza vaccine. Opportunities to get a flu shot will be ongoing throughout the fall and winter.
In this region, Ashcroft IDA Pharmacy is offering weekday appointments to get a flu shot. Pharmacist Jon Wiesendahl says that they ran out of the first batch of vaccine they received, and while they have now got more, flu shot clinics are on hold until they can get more supplies in.
“We’ve been busy,” he says. “We’ve had more requests than in past years. We’ve got an order [for more vaccine] in with Interior Health, but right now it’s by appointment only, Monday through Friday.”
The pharmacy is currently booking appointments for about a week ahead. To book a flu shot, call (250) 453-2537.
Parents and guardians of children under the age of 12 can make an appointment with the Public Health Nurse at the Ashcroft Health Centre to get children vaccinated. The health centre is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; call (250) 453-1940.
To find other flu shot providers throughout the province, visit Immunize BC at https://immunizebc.ca/. To see if you are eligible for a free flu shot, go to the BC Centre for Disease Control 2020-2021 Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Eligibility website at https://bit.ly/31JZNb4.
For more information about flu season and the flu shot in the Interior Health region, visit https://bit.ly/3dX0p1L.