Thursday, November 01, 2007

FLU IMMUNIZATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

IT'S FLU SEASON

NOTE: This article is dated 2007!

For 2009 Swine Flu Vaccine Use this LINK.

Influenza immunization clinics will begin across the province over the next few days, providing more than 1.2 million doses of free vaccinations to eligible British Columbians, announced Ida Chong, Minister of Community Services and Minister responsible for Seniors’ and Women’s Issues.

“Getting vaccinated against influenza is a smart investment of time for seniors and other members of at-risk groups,” said Chong. “A few moments are all it takes to avoid a week or more of bed-ridden illness, potential visits to the doctor or hospital, or the possibility of spreading the virus to friends, family and co-workers.”

British Columbians eligible for free immunizations include:

  • People 65 and over and their caregivers;
  • Adults and children over six months with chronic health conditions, and their household contacts;
  • Health-care workers;
  • Emergency responders;
  • Healthy children aged six-23 months;
  • Household contacts and caregivers of infants aged 0-23 months;
  • Pregnant women who will be in their third trimester during the influenza season;
  • Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities;
  • People who work with live poultry and swine;
  • Employees and inmates at B.C. correctional facilities.

“Influenza is a potentially fatal infection,” noted Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall. “In fact, over 1,400 British Columbians die from influenza or its complications every year. Immunization, coupled with good hygiene practices such as frequent hand washing can significantly reduce the chances of catching the virus.”

In addition to these groups, many employers recognize the benefits of having a healthy, flu-free workplace, and offer free immunizations for their employees. For other British Columbians wishing to be vaccinated, many pharmacies, doctor’s offices and clinics also provide the service for a small fee.

Finding a nearby immunization clinic is also easier for 2007, with the launch of a new flu clinic locator service available at www.immunizebc.ca. Visitors to the site can enter their postal code or community name to see a list of clinics operating in their area. Information on clinics is also available through the BC NurseLine, in Vancouver at 604 215-4700 or toll-free across the province at 1-866-215-4700.


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