VIHA re-write

VIHA begins series of public health clinics for Vancouver Island

Ladysmith’s health fair is just a small segment of a series of public health clinics on the horizon for Vancouver Island.

The clinics, put on by Vancouver Island Health Authority,  commence October 28 and will see many a flu shot distributed.

VIHA’s press release explains the shots are provided for “people at high risk of complications from influenza and their close contacts as well as other vulnerable groups.”

“People who are at high risk can suffer severe complications or even death from influenza,” said Dr. Dee Hoyano, medical health officer for VIHA. “The most common complication, particularly for elderly people, is pneumonia, an infection of the lungs. Influenza can also lead to other complications for people who have heart, lung or other health conditions.”

You will be able to receive your free flu shot if you fall into any of the following categories:

  • People 65 and older and their caregivers
  • Children and adults with chronic health conditions, their household and close contacts
  • Health care workers
  • Emergency responders
  • Healthy children from six months of age to less than five years old
  • Household contacts and caregivers of children from birth to less than five years of age
  • Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy
  • Residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities
  • Owners and operators of poultry farms
  • Aboriginal peoples
  • People who are very obese (those with a body mass index of 40 or greater)
  • Corrections officers and inmates in provincial correctional institutions
  • Those who provide care or service in potential outbreak settings housing high risk persons (e.g. crew on ships)

VIHA explains that healthy adults may also choose to be immunized and help protect people in the high risk categories. Those not eligible can choose to have the shot by visiting your family physician or pharmacist for a small cost.

Health clinic participants are told to bring your CareCard or another form of government I.D. in order to receive the flu shot and advised to wear a short sleeve shirt. Those eligible for the shot can also be vaccinated by their local doctor.

New to the clinics this year is a nasal spray influenza vaccine free for eligible children aged between two and 17. VIHA states this method is the preferred vaccine for those kids aged two to eight as it is takes away the scenario of a needle and provides “better protection in young children” rather than the inactivated influenza injection.

Ladysmith’s clinic is taking place on November 1 between 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Ladysmith Secondary School, 710 6th Avenue. There is also a drop-in clinic happening at Chemainus Seniors Centre October 31, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m, located on 9824 Willow Street in Chemainus. VIHA is also running a clinic on Thetis Island November 6 between 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Forbes Hall, 292 Mission Road.

For more information on the clinics and the flu shot either visit viha.ca/flu, immunizebc.ca or call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1.