Flu clinics getting underway

  • Oct. 15, 2004 9:00 a.m.

Submitted by the Northern Health Association–Influenza kills over 1,400 people in BC every year; Northern Health urges at-risk residents to get free flu vaccine
Every year, approximately 1400 people in BC die from influenza and pneumonia (a serious complication of influenza). Northern Health is urging those
residents at risk to get their free flu vaccine this season.
“A safe, effective vaccine is readily available… and getting it could save your life,” says Dr. David Bowering, Chief Medical Health Officer. “A lot of attention is paid to a virus such as West Nile, but the influenza virus is a much more important health threat… especially for individuals in high-risk groups.”
People who are already ill with chronic diseases that affect their respiratory systems, or elderly people, may become severely ill, suffer secondary illnesses like pneumonia, and may even die. Healthy younger
people who get it usually miss a week or more of work or school and may be attacked by other viruses and bacteria before they fully recover.
The flu vaccine is free for those in at-risk categories. This year, the eligible at-risk groups have been expanded to include children aged 6 to 23 months; household and regular child care contacts of children aged 0 to 23 months; and individuals handling poultry infected or potentially infected
with avian flu during culling operations.
Others at higher risk for influenza include:
· People 65 years of age and older,
· Residents of long-term care facilities
· People with chronic diseases
· Health care workers
· First responders such as police officers, fire-fighters, and
ambulance crews
From now through November, public health nurses in the North will be administering free influenza vaccination for those in at-risk groups through drop-in and by-appointment flu clinics. Physicians also provide the vaccine to their at-risk patients. Various local pharmacies will be offering flu
vaccination on a charge basis.
A pneumococcal vaccine will also be offered for at-risk groups. The pneumococcal vaccine can prevent many strains of pneumonia, which is the most serious complication of the flu. Most people only need to receive this vaccine once, while a flu vaccine is needed every year due to different emerging strains. People at risk who require the pneumococcal vaccine can get this along with their flu vaccination in the same visit to a local clinic.
“Every year, we ask local schools to notify us on any day when the absenteeism rate is over 10 per cent due to sickness,” says Dr. Lorna Medd, Medical Health Officer. “We then work to determine if it’s a flu-like illness. Schools can be one of the most important early indicators that influenza is in the community.”
Individuals experiencing flu-like symptoms should consult with their physician for diagnosis and treatment. For more information on influenza symptoms and other health issues, residents can also call the BC NurseLine toll-free at 1-866-215-4700, or TTY at 1-866-889-4700 for the deaf and
hearing-impaired. Registered nurses at this line can provide confidential health information and advice, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Translation services are available in 130 languages. See BC HealthGuide OnLine at www.bchealthguide.org for more information and the BC HealthFiles.
Drop-in vaccination clinics for individuals in at-risk groups are being held on the Queen Charlottes as follows:

For more info, call 250-626-3369
Masset Health Unit
Friday, October 22

Delmas Co-op
Saturday, October 23
Saturday, November 6
10:00am – 5:00pm

For more info, call 250-626-3369
Port Clements Health Clinic
Thursday, October 21
10:00am – 3:00pm

Tuesday, October 26
10:00am – 1:00pm

For more info, call 250-559-2350
Tlell Fire Hall
Friday, October 22
1:30pm – 4:30pm

Sandspit Health Unit
Thursday, October 21
Wednesday, November 3
10:00am – 4:00pm

Skidegate Health Unit
Wednesday, October 27
10:00am – 4:00pm

Queen Charlotte City – United Church Annex
Thursday, October 28
10:00am – 4:00pm

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