The flu season is almost upon us and that means it's time to start thinking about where you're going to get vaccinated. The flu shot is free to all Indigenous people in BC - both on and off reserve.
Dr. Shannon McDonald, the FNHA's Acting Chief Medical Officer, recently sat down with us to talk about the importance of getting the influenza vaccine this year, especially during COVID-19.
You can watch her video interview here, or listen to it on SoundCloud.
Some noteworthy quotations from Dr. McDonald's interview:
The flu shot is more important during COVID-19
“In the circumstances of COVID, it helps keep our lungs healthy and our bodies healthy, so we're better able to fight off the COVID infection if we come across it."
The flu shot is safe
“We test the shot quite extensively for effectiveness and for safety. Some individuals have a very brief reaction, just like you do as a child when you get an immunization. Basically, it means your body is doing what it's supposed to do when you're immunized, and that is to mount an immune response to whatever you're being given."
Everyone should get the flu shot
“We focus our attention on Elders, those at risk, small children, but every one of us has people in our lives with whom we don't want to share a serious infection."
Children especially should receive the flu shot
“Young children's immune systems aren't completely developed and sometimes an influenza infection can make them extremely ill."
Indigenous people should receive the flu shot
“We know that our population have higher rates of chronic diseases and sometimes are immune-suppressed and therefore it's very, very important that a flu vaccine helps them and keeps them from getting sick."
You can get your flu shot at your local health centre or nursing station, or you can find a flu clinic near you by searching the Immunize BC website. As well, most pharmacies are carrying the flu vaccine, so ask your pharmacist about booking an appointment (this year appointments are widely required due to pandemic precautions).
For more information about the flu, prevention and protection, and other helpful links, visit fnha.ca/flu.