A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month.  (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

Interior Health is expecting an upswing in area residents seeking a flu shot this fall.

The health authority has received 320,000 doses for distribution this year, about a 10 per cent increase over last year.

Dr. Carol Fenton, a medical health officer with Interior Health (IH), said the higher demand can be attributed to the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic combined with health officials across Canada promoting people to mitigate the flu-related potential impact on our health care system.

Fenton said there are two reasons why flu shots are important: to not place an unnecessary burden on hospitals and to prevent the spread of the flu in schools and workplaces.

She said those most vulnerable to influenza, a contagious respiratory infection, include adults and children with underlying health conditions, residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities, people 65 years of age and older, children under 60 months of age, pregnant women, and Indigenous peoples.

“It’s important for everyone to be vaccinated, even for people who are low risk for serious illness from influenza. That’s because they can pass it on to other people,” Fenton said.

““Healthy adults, for example, are the ones who drop the kids off at daycare and go to work, or drop off and pick up their kids at school, then make a stop at the store on the way home and maybe a visit to see grandma. If that person is vaccinated, the potential for flu transmission to others is reduced.”

READ MORE: Kelowna clinic offers drive-thr flu shots

READ MORE: Study says flu vaccine did its job last winter

She said IH will rely largely on health care providers or pharmacies to deliver the vaccine to patients. Check out https://immunizebc.ca/clinics/flu#8/49.246/-123.116 to find the free flu vaccine provider near you.

“If that option doesn’t exist where you live, then call the public health clinic, but our emphasis is on delivering the flu vaccine through the community providers,” she said.

Fenton said the combination of COVID-19 and flu health concerns could be a volatile mix, the flu season specifically tends to start gaining traction at this point of the year, peeking out at the end of December or the first week or two of January, then peters out by April.

She said the flu season itself a result of the onset of colder weather: more people are staying indoors which raises the incident potential of flu germ transmission, and less humidity in the air so viral particles last longer.

Fenton said there is an element of science guesswork that goes into creating the flu vaccine, but that is necessary to have it manufactured and distributed in the summer to be ready for fall delivery when it’s needed.

“It might not always be 100 per cent effective against a given flu virus, but it is in the 50 to 80 per cent ballpark of effectiveness, and we do know beyond that 80 per cent point while people might still get infected, they are not as sick as if they did not have the vaccine.”

Fenton said the anti-vax community sentiment is out there, but having a conversation with your family doctor or other health care provider is the best way to alleviate any concerns.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

interiorbc

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jake Jeannotte, age six, holds a Whisky Jack – another name for Gray Jay, Canada Jay or Camp Robber – a common bird that can be seen on the bird count. 
(Contributed)
Bird count back for 31st year

There are some slight modifications to the bird count to accomodate for COVID-19

(File)
One death and 82 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

1,981 total cases, 609 are active and those individuals are on isolation

Paramedic Jason Manuel, dressed in PPE, inspects an ambulance at Station 341 on Nov. 30. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Second wave, twice the anxiety; Okanagan paramedics reflect on pandemic from the front line

‘I don’t know who that (next) person is going to be, I don’t want it to be me or my family’: Paramedic

Dr. Albert de Villiers, Chief Medical Health Officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
‘People need to start listening’: IH top doc combats COVID-19 misconceptions

Dr. Albert de Villiers says light at the end of the tunnel will grow in step with people’s adherence to PHO guidance

Rotary president Isabelle Simard, middle, and Rotary members Michele LaPointe and Bob Finnie are hoping the 12 days of Christmas shop local contest can help local businesses mitigate COVID-19. (Claire Palmer photo)
Rotary looks to support local businesses

The contest will kick off on Dec. 12

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Melissa David, of Parachutes for Pets and her dogs Hudson and Charlie are trying to raise money for a homeless shelter that will allow pets and are seen in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘My only wish:’ Children asking pet charity to help their furry friends at Christmas

Parachutes for Pets says it has received 14 letters from children in the last week t

Melissa Velden and her chef-husband Chris Velden, stand in their dining room at the Flying Apron Inn and Cookery in Summerville, N.S. on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. The couple is hosting holiday parties with appropriate distancing and other COVID-19 health protocols in place at their restaurant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Celebrities, Santa and Zoom part of office holiday parties being held amid COVID-19

Many will send tokens of appreciation to workers or offer time off or cash

Richard Reeves examines a painted film strip in his home studio. Photo: Aaron Hemens
PHOTOS: Pandemic inspires creativity for Creston animator Richard Reeves

For more than 30 years, Richard Reeves has been creating abstract animated short-films by drawing and painting images onto strips of film.

Police responded to W.L. Seaton Secondary after reports of young man attempting to smash car windows in the student parking lot on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (Facebook)
Case of COVID-19 at North Okanagan high school

Member of W.L. Seaton Secondary exposure Nov. 26

Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP was called to a report of a fight at an Okanagan Landing Halloween party Saturday, Oct. 31, but issued the homeowner a ticket  under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act for having too many people at the party. (Black Press file photo)
West Kelowna man, dog rescued from carbon monoxide poisoning

The man was quickly transported to the hospital

The aftermath of the 3 a.m. fire in Keremeos. (Keremeos Fire Department)
Fire and explosion wakes Keremeos residents

A motorhome was consumed and a boat severely damaged after the 3 a.m. fire

Good Samaritan Mountainview Village located at 1540 KLO Road in Kelowna. (Good Samaritan Society)
First long-term care resident dies from COVID-19 in Interior Health

Man in his 80s dies following virus outbreak at Mountainview Village

Most Read