The flu season is far from over and researchers say the 2018/19 influenza vaccine is offering much better protection than previous years.
According to the mid-season analysis performed by the Canadian Sentinel Practitioner Surveillance Network, this year’s vaccine appears to have reduced the risk of the H1N1 influenza by an estimated 91 per cent in children ages one through eight, and 72 per cent in the general population.
That is a huge increase from last season's flu shot, which was less than 20 per cent effective in preventing Canadians from getting sick during what turned out to be an H3N2-dominant epidemic.
“Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu, and infected people are highly contagious and can spread influenza to others for up to 24 hours before showing symptoms,” said Dr. Manish Sadarangani with Pediatric Infectious Diseases at BC Children's. “Patients and caregivers visiting BC Children’s or BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre can get their free flu shots on site at the Family Immunization Clinic.”
The clinic opened in October 2017 and administered 1,997 flu vaccines in its first season. Since the beginning of October of this year, 2,036 patients have already visited the clinic.
“My nephew is unsafe when people are not immunized,” said Kelly, who was visiting her 7-year-old nephew at BC Children’s. “It feels good knowing flu shots are easy to get for families staying here at the hospital. It’s one less thing to worry about.”
BC Children’s offers both pediatric (including nasal spray) and adult flu vaccines along with all publicly-funded immunizations at no cost to patients and visitors. They can drop-in or pre-book an appointment.
Dates: Flu shots available now to March 2019. All other publicly funded immunizations are available year-round.
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 24, 2018 – Jan. 1, 2019) Please note: drop-in visits cannot always be accommodated in the afternoon. A booked appointment reduces any wait times. To pre-book an appointment, call 604-875-3000.
Location: Ambulatory Care Building (ACB), BC Children's Hospital; 4480 Oak St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3N1; Main Level, Entrance 21
Who is eligible for the free flu shot?
Patients at BC Children’s and BC Women’s, their family members and visitors, and pregnant women. Patients do not require a referral but a pre-booked appointment is recommended to reduce wait times.
How effective is the flu vaccine?
Receiving a vaccine is an important step in protecting against influenza. It can prevent influenza in about 60 – 80 per cent of adults and children who have had the vaccine. PHSA recommends that everyone six months of age and older gets a yearly flu vaccine with rare exception.
What happens if patients and their families visiting BC Children’s or BC Women’s have not had a flu shot?
For the protection of PHSA site patients, anyone visiting must have had a flu shot or are required to wear a mask during flu season (now until approximately March 2019).