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B.C. making flu shots free due to ‘unique circumstances’ of COVID-19

Click to play video: 'Influenza vaccine to be provided free to anyone in B.C. over the age of six months old' Influenza vaccine to be provided free to anyone in B.C. over the age of six months old
Dr. Bonnie Henry said at Tuesday's COVID-19 briefing that flu shots will be provided free this year for anyone over six months old. Henry says the precautions are important to follow because of the return of international travel, and the B.C. vaccine card allows the community to spend more time together. – Oct 19, 2021

COVID-19 has led the B.C. government to making flu shots free this season for everyone older than six months.

Citing “unique circumstances” due to the pandemic, the province is offering the vaccine for free to because of the strain that flu outbreaks could put on an already strained health-care system.

Click to play video: 'Infectious disease experts predict bad flu season ahead' Infectious disease experts predict bad flu season ahead
Infectious disease experts predict bad flu season ahead – Sep 27, 2021

“All British Columbians should get vaccinated against influenza to protect themselves and their loved ones from serious illness, to reduce the strain on our hard-working health workers and to do our part to make sure the health system continues to be there for people who need it, where they need it and when they need it,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a news release Tuesday.

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The flu shot will predominantly be available in pharmacies across B.C.

The province is asking people to check their health authority’s website or call their health-care provider or pharmacist to check for availability and make an appointment.

Read more: B.C. doctors warn of nasty flu season, tout vaccines to ward off ‘twindemic’

Influenza vaccines have already been available for certain high-risk groups.

One change this year is that pharmacies can order vaccine directly from distributors.

Click to play video: 'B.C. announces third doses of COVID-19 vaccine for seniors in long-term care and assisted living' B.C. announces third doses of COVID-19 vaccine for seniors in long-term care and assisted living
B.C. announces third doses of COVID-19 vaccine for seniors in long-term care and assisted living – Sep 28, 2021

“Last year’s low influenza rates means our immunity against influenza is lower than usual,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

“Getting your influenza vaccine this year is more important than ever to protect yourself, your community and our overstretched health-care system.”

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