Protect yourself – get a flu shot

If you could easily protect yourself, your family and those you come into contact with from the flu, why wouldn’t you? That is the question the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) wants you to consider and encourages everyone to get the flu shot this season.

  • Wed Oct 12th, 2011 6:00am
  • Life

If you could easily protect yourself, your family and those you come into contact with from the flu, why wouldn’t you? That is the question the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) wants you to consider and encourages everyone to get the flu shot this season.

“With the flu season already upon us, we want to remind everyone about the importance of getting immunized,” said Dr. Murray Fyfe, VIHA’s Medical Health Officer. “It is the easiest thing you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting the flu. The flu can also lead to other infections including viral or bacterial pneumonia which affect the lungs.”

The vaccine includes protection from H1N1 as well as two other strains. “The vaccine is the same as last year’s, however, immunity does not last which is why getting an annual flu shot is so important,” noted Fyfe. “The earlier you get your shot in the flu season, the sooner you will be protected throughout the season.”

Starting in mid-October, VIHA will provide public flu immunization clinics in communities across the Island to the following groups who are eligible for free flu shots:

• People 65 years of age and over and their caregivers

• Children and adults with chronic health conditions and their household contacts

• Health care workers

• Emergency responders

• Healthy children aged 6-23 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

• Owners and operators of poultry farms

• Aboriginal peoples

• People who are very obese (those with a body mass index of 40 or greater)

• Corrections officers and inmates in provincial correctional institutions

• Those who provide care or service in potential outbreak settings housing high risk persons (e.g. crew on ships)

Bring your CareCard or other government I.D. (valid driver’s license) when you get your flu shot. Those who are not eligible for the free flu vaccine through the publicly-funded program should contact their family doctor, local pharmacy, walk-in clinic, or travel clinic.

In Sooke a flu clinic will be held at the Seniors’ Drop-In Centre, 2205 Otter Point Road (upstairs) on Tuesday, Oct. 18 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Another will be held on the following dates at the Sooke Child, Youth and Family Centre (CASA) at 2145 Townsend Road:

Thursday, Nov. 27 – 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Thursday, Nov. 3 from 2 to 7 p.m.; and on Tuesday, Nov. 8 fromm 1:15 to 3:30 p.m.

To find the local flu clinic schedules, please visit VIHA’s web site at www.viha.ca/flu.

How flu vaccine works:

Natural infection from certain diseases can kill or seriously harm a child before their body is able to mount an effective immune response.

The vaccine triggers your own body’s natural immune response into action to protect you against the disease without the risk of infection.

The vaccine contains antigens: harmless substances (such as dead bacteria or molecules) associated with the disease.

The body thinks the antigens are the disease itself, and its immune system starts creating antibodies: proteins that can hone in on that disease’s bacteria or viruses.

Now the immune system knows how to create antibodies against the disease. And if that disease attacks your body, your immune system is ready to fight it off.