Amanda Bedell and her three-year-old son Oscar visited the Campbell River Public Health Unit to get their flu shots. (Troy Landreville, Vista Radio staff)
With flu season looming, Island Health is reminding you to get vaccinated.
Medical health officer, Dr. Charmaine Enns, said every year there are a number of people who should be vaccinated.
Enns added that when it comes to vaccinations, it’s best to take a proactive approach.
“In order to be protected before the flu influenza virus really starts circulating, we want people to go get their shot before they’re at risk at getting the infection.”
She said this campaign isn’t exclusive to Vancouver Island.
“It’s national and North American wide, because our influenza virus tends to circulate in the winter, and our influenza season is usually the beginning of December to the end of April. So every year we have a different variation of the virus that circulates and that’s why each year we have a new and different vaccine for people to receive.”
Enns said those who need to be vaccinated most fall into three categories:
- The first is those who are most at risk of getting the flu, including those under the age of five and over 65, of if those with underlying chronic health conditions like heart and lung disease.
- Those who care for those at risk such as health care workers or work in a long-term care facility.
- And those who provide essential services such as RCMP officers, firefighters and paramedics.
The vaccine took about six months to make and is made on World Health Organization recommendations based on what was circulating in the southern hemisphere during their influenza season.
Getting your shot isn’t a guarantee that you will be immune from the flu, however, Enns says it’s a “best guess vaccine.”
“It’s still a very good vaccine and it’s the best we have in terms of protecting against influenza,” she added.
For adults, this vaccine protects you against three strains of influenza.
She stressed that getting your flu shot is better than not getting it at all.
“Should you get influenza and get the infection, you will have less impact than if you weren’t vaccinated at all,” Enns said. “The whole point of the vaccine program is to prevent transmission to other people who will really suffer and maybe even die should they get influenza.”
For a schedule of Island Health public flu clinics for children, youth and their caregivers, click here.