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

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

Follow public health recommendations, says Interior Health as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Revelstoke. (Image courtesy CDC)
Revelstoke positive COVID cases grows to 29

Interior Health announced a cluster in the community on Nov. 26

Figure skaters in the old skating rink in the 1940s. 
(Revelstoke Museum and Archives photo 4034)
Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Nov. 26

A look a local history as recorded by the newspaper

Cst. Dane Storey was recognized as a member of Alexa’s Team, a provincial recognition paying tribute to police officers who make an extraordinary contribution to reducing the number of impaired drivers on the roads. (Submitted/Revelstoke RCMP)
Alexa’s Team awarded to Revelstoke RCMP officer

Cst. Dane Storey removed 59 impaired drivers from B.C. roads in 2019

Revelstoke Mountain Resort opens for the season tomorrow, Nov. 27, 2020. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Know before you go: Revelstoke Mountain Resort opens tomorrow

Masks are mandatory, lineup opens at 6:30 a.m.

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Summerland residents have been receiving a telephone scam with the number showing as the telephone number of the local RCMP detachment. (Black Press Media files)
Summerland RCMP telephone number spoofed in scam calls

Number used in scam attempts from tax agency

(Village of Lumby photo)
Mysterious, loud ‘boom’ shakes North Okanagan residents

Village staff, Earthquakes Canada aren’t sure what caused the explosion-like sound

Clarence Fulton students collect cash and non-perishable food donations for families in need in their community Friday, Nov. 27. (Jennifer Smith  - Morning Star)
North Okanagan students collect food for families in need

Annual event to support nine school families this year

Take a break from the slopes to discover the rich culture and diversity of Vernon. Michelle Beaudry photo, courtesy Tourism Vernon.
Tourism Vernon could see 40% cut to budget due to COVID-19

New approach to help residents and visitors activate their adventures

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Penticton law courts
Osoyoos child sex offender in court

Shawn Titus, 37, is charged with possession of child porn

Leighton Allen Labute faces charges of animal abuse and allegedly has a string of social media accounts depicting disturbing content.
Accused Kelowna hamster killer has trial date set for 2021

Leighton Labute’s three day trial is scheduled for Aug. 16, 2021

Most Read