If you’ve been coughing and sneezing a little bit more than usual, you might not be alone.
Flu season is starting up and health officials are busy preparing immunization shots.
Northern Health’s CD Coordinator, Anita Endean, says this year’s vaccine is set to prevent against a few different strains. “This year’s component, it fights against four different strains, so anyone receiving a flu vaccine will receive a vaccine according to their age and their risk group that is for two different types of influenza A and two different types of influenza B.”
When it comes to predicting what type of year the flu virus will bring, doctors often try and guess which strain is most common around the world. Endean says California, Puckett, Hong Kong, and Brisbane are all on the radar this year. “It’s a tough call to make and when that is done then they start production of the vaccine and this is where our chains of command come into play.”
The Northern Health Authority receives a shipment of shots from the BC Centre For Disease Control each year. The flu shots are administered to public health clinics or you can contact your local pharmacy.
Pharmacist at 3rd Avenue Drugs, Patrick Dinelle recommends anyone over the age of six months get their shot, but as a community pharmacy, he’s only allowed to administer the vaccine to anyone five years of age or older. “People can just drop in and we’ll try to accommodate them as quickly and efficiently as we can, but some pharmacies might do more of a clinic where you have to make an appointment so check with your local pharmacy.”
Endean says the shot is a good first step to preventing the flu, but it starts with taking the right precautions. “We strongly encourage those to get their flu vaccine, but also to wash their hands, use sneeze and cough etiquette by coughing into your arm, as well as staying home when you’re sick.”
Northern Health is offering up a limited number of flu shots at this weekend’s ‘Healthier You’ Expo, but will still confirm a November 7th start to when vaccines should be available to the public.