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

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.

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.

“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.

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.

“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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