A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month.  (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

Interior Health is expecting an upswing in area residents seeking a flu shot this fall.

The health authority has received 320,000 doses for distribution this year, about a 10 per cent increase over last year.

Dr. Carol Fenton, a medical health officer with Interior Health (IH), said the higher demand can be attributed to the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic combined with health officials across Canada promoting people to mitigate the flu-related potential impact on our health care system.

Fenton said there are two reasons why flu shots are important: to not place an unnecessary burden on hospitals and to prevent the spread of the flu in schools and workplaces.

She said those most vulnerable to influenza, a contagious respiratory infection, include adults and children with underlying health conditions, residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities, people 65 years of age and older, children under 60 months of age, pregnant women, and Indigenous peoples.

“It’s important for everyone to be vaccinated, even for people who are low risk for serious illness from influenza. That’s because they can pass it on to other people,” Fenton said.

““Healthy adults, for example, are the ones who drop the kids off at daycare and go to work, or drop off and pick up their kids at school, then make a stop at the store on the way home and maybe a visit to see grandma. If that person is vaccinated, the potential for flu transmission to others is reduced.”

READ MORE: Kelowna clinic offers drive-thr flu shots

READ MORE: Study says flu vaccine did its job last winter

She said IH will rely largely on health care providers or pharmacies to deliver the vaccine to patients. Check out https://immunizebc.ca/clinics/flu#8/49.246/-123.116 to find the free flu vaccine provider near you.

“If that option doesn’t exist where you live, then call the public health clinic, but our emphasis is on delivering the flu vaccine through the community providers,” she said.

Fenton said the combination of COVID-19 and flu health concerns could be a volatile mix, the flu season specifically tends to start gaining traction at this point of the year, peeking out at the end of December or the first week or two of January, then peters out by April.

She said the flu season itself a result of the onset of colder weather: more people are staying indoors which raises the incident potential of flu germ transmission, and less humidity in the air so viral particles last longer.

Fenton said there is an element of science guesswork that goes into creating the flu vaccine, but that is necessary to have it manufactured and distributed in the summer to be ready for fall delivery when it’s needed.

“It might not always be 100 per cent effective against a given flu virus, but it is in the 50 to 80 per cent ballpark of effectiveness, and we do know beyond that 80 per cent point while people might still get infected, they are not as sick as if they did not have the vaccine.”

Fenton said the anti-vax community sentiment is out there, but having a conversation with your family doctor or other health care provider is the best way to alleviate any concerns.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

interiorbc

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Youth from Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and the Kootenays were able to dig into two evenings of online learning and connection through United Way Southern Interior B.C.’s <CODE>anagan program. (Submitted)<code> </code>
CODEanagan gives youth a chance to learn about technology

The youth, aged 12 to 21, built their own WordPress sites and developed blogging ideas

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

Okanagan patients will benefit from the recent inclusion of the Medical Arts Health Research Group in a worldwide study with the National Institute of Health (NIH). The study will be a global collaboration for finding better treatments for COVID-19. (File photo)
Okanagan research group involved with finding better COVID treatments

Okanagan Medical Arts Health Research Group invited to collaborate in global study

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, before she knew she would change literature. Photo Wikipedia
And Then There Were None

What book knocked your booties off when you were young?

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

The Salmon Arm Economic Development Society released a video on Feb. 22, 2021 promoting agriculture and food production in Salmon Arm and the Shuswap. (SAEDS image)
New video promotes Salmon Arm staples of agriculture, food production

Three-minute video from economic development featuring local producers receives appreciative reviews

One person was extricated from a vehicle that rolled off Highway 97 Feb. 25, 2021, near Clerke Road in Coldstream around 2 p.m. (Roger Knox - Vernon Morning Star)
Two hurt in Highway 97 rollover south of Vernon

Ambulance transfers two patients with non-life-threatening injuries

The BC Prosecution Service announced last year that it was appointing lawyer Marilyn Sandford as a special prosecutor to review the case, following media inquiries about disclosure issues linked to a pathologist involved in the matter. (Black Press Media files)
Possible miscarriage of justice in B.C. woman’s conviction in toddler drowning: prosecutor

Tammy Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in 2013 to the lesser charge

A puppy stolen from a West Kelowna residence has been reunited with its family. (Kelowna RCMP)
Stolen puppy reunited with Central Okanagan owners

A happy ending; puppy stolen from West Kelowna vehicle found in Kelowna, returned to family

A kid in elementary school wearing a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Metro Creative)
Union asks why an elementary school mask rule wouldn’t work in B.C. if it does elsewhere

B.C. education minister announced expansion of mask-wearing rules in middle, high school but not elementary students

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Veteran Vernon radio announcer Frank Martina is returning to the local airwaves with his popular Saturday Classics show, which will run from 1-4 p.m. on Vernon’s new community station Valley FM, set to launch in the fall of 2021. (Morning Star - file photo)
Vernon radio announcer returning to airwaves

New community station Valley FM reaches deal with Frank Martina to air his Classics show

Most Read