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Things to keep in mind when getting your flu shot this year

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Flu germ with the caption "Don't let the flu get to you!"
Flu shots are safe, effective, and free for many people in BC.

This year, it’s more important than ever to get a flu shot to protect against the spread of influenza (the flu), especially for those who have a higher risk of getting sick. There’s no COVID-19 vaccine yet, but we do have influenza vaccines.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious illness, hospitalization and death. If influenza spreads rapidly in communities at the same time as COVID-19, it can overwhelm our healthcare system and put our loved ones at risk. The best protection is to get the flu shot this fall and stay home if you’re sick.

Northern Health flu clinics start the first week of November

Most Northern Health flu clinics will start the first week of November, and flu shots will also be available from pharmacies and doctor’s offices throughout the region. To find a flu clinic or provider nearest you, visit ImmunizeBC’s website, or call 8-1-1 if you don’t have access to the internet. 

Flu shots are on the way

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry recently reassured that there will be enough flu vaccine for British Columbians this year. Vaccine is currently being shipped and distributed to vaccine providers in the North. Here are some things to keep in mind when getting your flu shot this year.

Things to keep in mind when getting your flu shot this year:

  • Making an appointment is strongly encouraged to help reduce line-ups and maintain safe physical distancing, due to COVID-19.
  • Plan ahead. Northerners are asked to plan ahead and schedule a time to get their flu shot.
  • It’s ok if it takes a couple weeks to get a flu shot. If it takes a week or two for you to get an appointment with pharmacist, physician, or public health clinic, that’s okay - the best time to do it is end of October and into November. That’s the optimal time to be immunized because then we know that the immunity that you get from the vaccine will carry you through the influenza season.
  • NH public health clinics will be encouraging mask use (for those aged two and up), and implementing physical distancing measures.
  • Please follow the instructions of clinic staff, and respect COVID-19 safety protocols put in place by other flu shot providers.
  • In some communities, the NH Check In app is available to make physical distancing easier while waiting for your flu shot appointment (to download the app, visit: northernhealth.ca). Please note, the NH Check In app is optional to use, and is not for the purpose of making flu shot appointments.

Who should get a flu shot

Flu shots are recommended for everybody older than six months of age. Flu shots are safe, effective, and free for many people in BC including: children, seniors, pregnant people, Indigenous people, those with underlying medical or chronic health conditions, those who work with or come in close contact with higher-risk groups.

Where to get a flu shot

To find a flu clinic or provider nearest you, visit ImmunizeBC’s website, or call 8-1-1 if you don’t have access to the internet. 

Remember: Stay safe, stay calm, and be kind

We’re only now just approaching the optimal time to get flu shots. It’s okay if your appointment isn’t right away. It’s also never too late to get your flu shot – there will be opportunities to get immunized whether by public health or other providers, well into the season. As Dr. Henry has said throughout this pandemic, “Be kind, be calm, and be safe” ­– we’ll all get through flu season together!