It’s that time of year — as the fall gets looking a little more wintery, flu season rears its head, and folks start talking about flu vaccinations.
Interior Health is offering several drop-in clinics for the public next month. The shots are free for eligible people in several categories.
The shots will take place at the Tamarack Centre (180 – 1500 Cranbrook St.) on Thurday, Nov. 7 (9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.), Friday, Nov. 8 (9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) and Wednesday, Nov. 13 (9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.).
There will be another clinic at the Cranbrook Health Unit (20 – 23rd Avenue South) on Friday, Nov. 15, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
“It is important to get a flu shot yearly because flu viruses change from year to year,” reads the Interior Health website. The flu is caused by influenza viruses A and B. There are different strains of the flu virus every year. “Each year the influenza (flu) vaccine is updated to include the current viruses that are circulating,” the website reads.
According to the IH website, this year’s vaccine contains three different flu strains:
•A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) pdm09-like
•A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus
Most people get better without problems. But sometimes the flu can lead to a bacterial infection, such as an ear infection, a sinus infection, or bronchitis. In rare cases, the flu may cause a more serious problem, such as pneumonia.
Certain people are at higher risk of problems from the flu. They include young children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with long-term illnesses or with impaired immune systems that make it hard to fight infection.
The flu shots are provided free for:
• People 65 years and older and their caregivers/household contacts;
• People of any age in residential care facilities;
• Children and adults with chronic health conditions and their household contacts;
• Children and adolescents (6 months to 18 years) with conditions treated for long periods of time with Acetylsalicylic Acid (Aspirin/ ASA) and their household contacts;
• Children and adults who are very obese;
• Aboriginal people;
• All children 6-59 months of age;
• Household contacts and caregivers of infants and children 0-59 months of age;
• Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy during the influenza season and their household contacts;
• People who work with live poultry;
• Health care and other care providers in facilities and community settings who are capable of transmitting influenza disease to those at high risk of influenza complications;
• Individuals who provide care or service in potential outbreak settings housing high risk persons (e.g., crew on ships);
• People who provide essential community services (First Responders, Corrections Workers);
• Inmates of provincial correctional institutions.