Emily Bara of the Skeetchestn Indian Band in the central interior region of BC still remembers clearly the day 62 years ago that her sister died of the flu. “My mother was cooking supper and she told me to go lie down with my sister. I did and when I got up I told Mom 'she's really cold – you'd better go check her.' So Mom went and checked her but because we hadn't got our flu shots she had passed away."
Emily has lived with the sorrow of her sister's death ever since. It has prompted her to ensure that she and her family members get their flu shots every year – including the latest generation of great-grandchildren. It's a practice strongly recommended by the First Nations Health Authority, whose Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Evan Adams, says getting vaccinated against the flu is a way to build “immunity for your community."
“Elders, children and those who are already sick are particularly vulnerable to the flu virus," says Dr. Adams. “By getting the flu shot, you'll help protect your entire community from the virus."
Flu vaccines help the body do what it does naturally – build immunity to fight illness. They are safe and offered free of charge for First Nations people in BC.
For more tips and information about the flu, including videos featuring Dr. Adams and Emily Bara, check the FNHA's flu information web page.