October 10, 2013 - 2:16 PM
KAMLOOPS – It's nearly that time of year again — the aching, coughing, sneezing flu season is nearly upon us.
In preparation for the seasonal bout of influenza Interior Health is set to dole out free immunizations to those most at risk in the Thompson Cariboo Shuswap region between Oct. 29 and Jan. 20. Mass clinics will be held in November in Kamloops though public clinics will take place right through Jan. 20.
In total 12 free clinics will be held in Kamloops with another 69 taking place around the region in areas such as Ashcroft, Barriere, Chase, Cache Creek, Salmon Arm, Sicamous and Merritt. Many other private clinics will also be held, many sponsored by pharmacists and companies, public health nurse Shelley O'Grady says.
“We have lots of clinics happening this year, just as many as last year,” O'Grady says. “There's lots of options for people to get their flu vaccine.”
She adds the goal has been to make the vaccine as accessible as possible and it seems to be working as more pharmacists and private companies have started offering the flu vaccine in recent years.
Part of making them more accessible has included expanding the groups that are eligible for free vaccines.
“Every year it expands more, this year pregnant ladies in any time of their pregnancy are eligible. Last year it was only for those in the third trimester,” the nurse says. “Obesity in children is also included this year as an at risk group. Last year was just obese adults.”
There are many eligible groups and O'Grady notes people should always check the list first because many people do qualify.
“A lot of people know that those with chronic health get it for free,” she says, “but so do their household contacts. So if you have a grandmother who is chronically ill that you visit, you can get the shot free too.”
Based on the worldwide trends observed with the influenza virus the World Health Organization has only changed one of the three strains included in the vaccine from last year.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013