In a push to get more people protected from the flu, the province has opened a number of walk-in immunization clinics.
B.C. government officials said more walk-in clinics will be available over the weekend as part of an effort to get more people vaccinated before the holidays.
Clinics for adults and children are open across Interior Health communities, including Cranbrook, Creston, Elkford, Fernie, Sparwood, Invermere and Kimberley.
You can find the exact location and available hours for your local clinic through the link below.
Provincial Health Officier Dr. Bonnie Henry said this year’s flu has hit particularly hard.
“This is an unusual season with unusual characteristics, including an early and intense surge in cases,” said Henry. “With this unusual pattern, enhanced surveillance has been implemented that includes reporting of pediatric influenza-related deaths to public-health officials.”
As part of this enhanced monitoring, weekly reports on influenza-related deaths in children will be posted on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s website.
This move was enacted following the flu-related deaths of six children in B.C. this season.
“Early findings indicate some of the children experienced secondary bacterial infections contributing to severe illness, which can be a complication of influenza,” explained Henry.
“The children who died included one who was younger than five years old, three who were between five and nine, and two adolescents who were between 15 and 19. Death associated with influenza in previously healthy children is a tragic, but rare event and is especially rare in school-age children and teens.”
To combat the spread of influenza, B.C. residents are asked to get vaccinated.
Henry notes that this is particularly important for people with a compromised immune system and children.
“Vaccination against influenza is available to all children six months and older in B.C. This is particularly important for children at the highest individual risk of severe outcomes, including those with chronic medical conditions, those who need to take Aspirin or ASA for long periods of time, children who are very obese, infants and toddlers,” said Henry.