“Get your shot or grab a mask.”
That’s the message coming from Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) as it implements its flu policy across all VCH facilities.
Under the policy, visitors to hospitals, urgent primary care centres or other VCH facilities are asked to wear a face mask to prevent flu transmission if they haven’t been immunized this year.
“The flu can be devastating for our patients because many have chronic health problems including weakened immune systems and are more susceptible to serious illness,” said VCH’s Medical Health Officer Dr. Meena Dawar in a media release.
“The best way to protect your loved ones in hospital is to get a flu shot, even if you’re normally a healthy individual,” Dawar added.
“The shot will not only protect you from getting the flu, but also the people around you.”
VCH says about 3,500 people die of the flu every year in Canada, with people in hospitals and long-term seniors’ care facilities the most vulnerable.
The policy will remain in place until the end of flu season, which VCH said is typically the end of March.
VCH says flu shots for visitors are free, and can be obtained at a family doctor, walk-in clinic or pharmacy.