Cold & Flu

With so many employees following the recommendation to get a flu shot this year, all our scheduled clinics are at capacity. Everyone already scheduled for a flu shot will get one and we are working to arrange additional clinics in the near future. Information on any additional clinics will be shared as soon as it is available.

As always, workplace flu clinics are only one option available. You can also arrange to get a flu shot at your local pharmacy, public health clinic or doctor’s office. If you have any questions, please email Cold.Flu@gov.bc.ca.

If you work for the BC Public Service, the flu vaccination is free during flu season. The program is a convenient way for employees to get vaccinated by offering workplace flu clinics during the workday. Contractors who work with BC Public Service employees are also eligible.

About the Flu

The flu is a common upper respiratory illness that's highly contagious. Symptoms include fever, body aches, headache, fatigue, runny nose, loss of appetite, cough or sore throat. Fever and other symptoms usually last seven to ten days with the cough and weakness lasting up to two more weeks. 

The flu spreads rapidly from person to person by airborne droplets carried in a cough or a sneeze. You can also get the flu when touching your own eyes, nose or mouth after touching flu contaminated surfaces, including an infected person's hands.

Flu Clinics

Clinics will look a bit different this year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic worksite safety plans are in place at worksites across the Province. Please check with your worksite contact to ensure best practices for your worksite.

Clinics will be taking place at worksites across the Province starting in late October and running through December.

Your worksite contact will be sending information about your clinic via e-mail. If you are unable to attend your regularly scheduled clinic or are seeking another flu clinic date, time, or location, please visit the online booking site. All employees must book their appointment online; nurses providing flu shots at your clinic will bring vaccine and allocate time based on the number of people who have signed up in advance. 

Step-by-step instructions on how to use the online booking site will be sent by email from your worksite contact. If you experience difficulties with the booking process, please contact HealthServ directly by calling 1-800-270-8048, extension 225 or email Bookings@healthserv.com.  

The online scheduling application requires your name, phone number, and government email address. This information is collected by the BC Public Service Agency under section 26(c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the purpose of booking your flu vaccination appointment. Should you have any questions about the collection of this personal information please contact Claudette.Kolarich@gov.bc.ca

The Flu Vaccine

The vaccine components often change from year to year. These changes are based on worldwide tracking for changes in the virus and predictions about which strains will circulate each season. The flu vaccine to be administered in our clinics in 2020 is an inactivated vaccine (killed virus) that provides protection against the following three influenza viruses: 

  • A/Guangdon-Maonan (H1N1)
  • A/Hong Kong (H3N2)
  • B/Washington

To maximize your protection, get vaccinated each year as the specific viruses included in each vaccine vary. The vaccine becomes less effective over time and may not span two flu seasons.

Who Should Get the Flu Shot?

Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization continues to recommend that everyone six months old and older should get a flu vaccine (except those with egg allergies combined with other condition(s). The vaccine is especially important for people who are at higher risk of developing problems from the flu, including adults and children who have long-term health problems, pregnant women, or those in contact with or caring for individuals who are at high risk for complications. For a full list of those who are considered to be at higher risk, please check the HealthLink BC website. 

If you plan on visiting a health care facility or other patient care location, you may be expected to wear a mask if you did not get a flu shot.  Be sure to request a proof of influenza vaccination card from the nurse upon vaccination.

Egg Allergic Individuals

If you have an egg allergy or have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the influenza vaccine and are unsure if you can receive the flu vaccine, speak to your health care provider.

For more information

  • Read HealthLinkBC files #12c
  • For a confidential inquiry

Pregnant Employees

During our flu clinics, the vaccine will be available to pregnant employees that are seeking to be immunized for influenza. Please note that pregnant employees in their first trimester will be asked to provide a physician’s note at the clinic prior to being vaccinated.

Benefits & Risks

The flu vaccine is a safe and effective way to help stay healthy, prevent illness and protect yourself and others. When you get the flu shot, your body's immune system develops protection (antibodies) against the strains of the virus in the vaccine so that you are better protected against influenza than those who do not get the flu vaccine.

The antibodies help prevent infection or reduce the severity of the illness. If the strains in the vaccine are well-matched to the strains of influenza virus circulating in the community the vaccine prevents flu in more than seven out of 10 vaccinated persons. As a result, your time spent being ill from the flu is either eliminated or greatly reduced.

In some cases, people may experience redness or soreness where the flu shot was given. Other symptoms may include localized swelling, fever, headache and aching muscles approximately six to twelve hours after receiving the immunization. Anaphylaxis is a rare and extreme allergic reaction which can occur if a person is allergic to any of the components of the vaccine.

Prevention

There are things you can do to help prevent upper respiratory infections this season, whether a cold, flu, or COVID-19. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep can be an important part of maintaining optimal immune function. As well, use these best practices to keep yourself and our workplaces healthy:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds, more often than you think
  • Try to keep a two metre distance between yourself and others
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Get a flu shot