Interior Health gearing up for Okanagan flu shot clinics

Interior Health gearing up for Okanagan flu shot clinics - image
File photo

KELOWNA — It’s flu season and that means Interior Health is getting ready to help keep children, pregnant women, seniors and those with chronic illnesses safe from influenza.

According to the Interior Health Authority (IHA), thousands of Canadians develop serious illness, sometimes fatal, from influenza in a typical flu season.

READ MORE:  A first for flu season: a new, more robust four-strain vaccine

“Many people incorrectly use the term ‘flu’ to refer to any illness caused by a virus, such as the stomach flu or the common cold. However, influenza tends to be more severe,” says Medical Health Officer Dr. Kamran Golmohammadi.

“Influenza reduces the body’s ability to fight illnesses and infections and it can also increase a person’s risk for developing other serious conditions, including viral or bacterial pneumonia.”

IHA says the flu shot provides protection from the influenza virus strains expected to be circulating this season based on trends worldwide.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Last year’s flu vaccine mismatch an anomaly

This year’s flu shot offers protection against two influenza A viruses, H1N1 and H3N2, and one influenza B virus. According to IHA, for those under 18, the preferred vaccine also protects against an additional influenza B virus.

READ MORE:  Concerns renewed about flu vaccine’s effectiveness

The flu shot is free for those at risk of complications from influenza and those in contact with people at risk. This includes:

  • People 65 years and older and their caregivers/household contacts
  • People of any age in residential care facilities
  • Children and adults with chronic health conditions and their household contacts
  • Children and adolescents (6 months to 18 years) with conditions treated for long periods of time with Aspirin (ASA) and their household contacts
  • Children and adults who are morbidly obese
  • Aboriginal people
  • All children 6-59 months of age
  • Household contacts and caregivers of infants and children 0-59 months of age
  • Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy during the influenza season and their household contacts
  • Visitors to hospitals, health centres and residential care facilities
  • People who work with live poultry
  • Health care and other care providers in facilities and community settings who are capable of transmitting influenza disease to those at high risk of influenza complications
  • People who provide care or service in potential outbreak settings housing high-risk persons
  • People who provide essential community services (first responders, corrections workers)

IHA will be holding public flu shot clinics for anyone who is eligible for a free flu shot starting the week of October 27 in some communities.

Story continues below advertisement

Click here to find a flu shot clinic or provider close to you.

WATCH: Doctor explains why the flu vaccine may not be as potent this year

Sponsored content