#GetYourFluShot: Why getting the flu shot is more vital than ever

October 26, 2021

With the province in for what’s predicted to be a bad flu season, British Columbians are strongly encouraged to protect themselves and those around them by getting a flu shot – in fact this year it’s more vital than ever.

The public health measures put in place last year to protect us from getting COVID-19 effectively eliminated flu season, because the protective measures for both are virtually the same. So this winter/fall season, not only will British Columbians not have the same level of influenza antibodies they would have otherwise developed if the flu virus had circulated last year, but the COVID virus itself is still very much present. This leaves us more susceptible to influenza infection and leaves our health care system susceptible to a twindemic – a scenario where COVID-19 and seasonal influenza hit at the same time and strain an already overwhelmed health care system.


When and where to get your flu shot

This year’s flu shot will be predominantly available in BC pharmacies and while it has already been available for certain high-risk individuals, people are asked to check their health authority’s website or call their health-care provider or pharmacist to check for availability and to make an appointment. To find your nearest flu clinic or community pharmacy, and to find out where the nasal spray vaccine is available, use the Find a Flu Clinic tool.

How to prepare for your vaccination

  • If you have a fever, cough, sore throat or feel unwell, do not go to the clinic or other vaccination location. If you have made an appointment, call to reschedule.
  • Wear a mask to the appointment and if possible, a short-sleeve shirt.
  • Children 2-17 years of age can receive the influenza vaccine by nasal spray.
  • Let the health care provider know if you have had a previous reaction to the flu vaccine.
  • Plan to stay at the clinic for 15 minutes after getting your shot in case of the very rare possibility (less than 1 in a million) of an allergic reaction.

Unlike previous years where only high-risk individuals were eligible for a free shot, this year the province is making flu shots free for everyone 6 months and older to encourage vaccinations. So let’s all do our part this flu season to protect ourselves and those around us, and to help ensure the health care system is there for the people who truly need it.

For more information on influenza visit ImmunizeBC.