Number of people getting flu shots on the rise in Interior Health region | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Number of people getting flu shots on the rise in Interior Health region

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK

More people are rolling up their sleeves in the Interior Health region this fall for their flu shot than in previous years.

From Oct 1. to 24, the total number of influenza vaccines administered in the Interior Health region was 79,455, according to a statement from the health authority.

Community pharmacies have administered 80% of the flu shots so far in the region. This fall, pharmacies across B.C. are administering both the COVID-19 vaccines and flu shots at the same time and both are available to residents for free.

"We are seeing greater demand for influenza vaccine at this point in the campaign than in the last couple of years," according to Interior Health. The influenza public campaign began Oct. 11 with some long-term care and assisted living settings receiving their vaccines starting the week of Oct. 3 in Interior Health.

In the province, more than 630,000 people received their flu shots in the first 17 days of B.C.'s influenza immunization campaign, the highest number ever recorded in that timeframe, according to a press release from the province.

Approximately 43% of those who received their flu shot got their COVID-19 fall booster at the same time.

Last month, provincial health officials said they expected more than 1,500 hospitalizations from influenza and COVID-19.

READ MORE: As seasons change, B.C. health officials expecting hundreds more flu, COVID hospitalizations

That’s why the province made flu vaccines available in October, according to technical briefing documents issued by the provincial government, Sept. 28.

Annual flu shots are recommended starting with six-month-old babies. Flu is most dangerous for people 65 and older, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health problems including heart and lung diseases.

More than 1.8 million doses of influenza vaccines will be administered in B.C. this season.

Since most British Columbians have had COVID-19 vaccines, many will be automatically notified by email or text when they’re eligible to book their next booster shot, which can be taken at the same time as the flu vaccine.

Or, if they’re not registered, they can go to Get Vaccinated B.C. The vaccines are free for anyone over the age of six months.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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