Cold and flu

Last updated: June 21, 2021

The 2021 flu clinic program is offered to BC Public Service employees at registered worksites from October to December. If you work for the BC Public Service and your worksite is registered, you can receive the flu vaccine for free at your worksite.  Contractors who work with BC Public Service employees are also eligible to receive the flu vaccine.

About the flu

The flu is a highly contagious common upper respiratory illness. Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • body aches
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • cough or sore throat

Fever and other symptoms usually last 7 to 10 days. A cough and weakness in the body can last 2 weeks or longer. 

The flu spreads rapidly from person to person by airborne droplets carried in a cough or sneeze. You can also get the flu when touching your eyes, nose or mouth after touching surfaces contaminated with flu particles.

Register for a flu clinic

Early bird registration is June 14 to June 18. Register during this week to be entered in our draw to win fun prizes!

The BC Public Service Cold and Flu Clinic program runs every year from October to December. The clinics are offered by request only. Your worksite must have a volunteer contact to get a clinic.

If you have trouble registering or have a question about the flu clinics, email Cold.Flu@gov.bc.ca.

Worksite contacts

Responsibilities include:

  • Registering with the flu clinic program
  • Coordinating with clinic providers to schedule a clinic at your location
  • Sharing information about your worksite clinic with your colleagues
  • Helping with on-site set up on the scheduled clinic day

Clinics are created in alignment with Public Health safety standards. Clinics can either be open to all BC Public Service Employees or limited to employees of that particular worksite.

Clinics will look a bit different this year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, safety plans will be in place at worksites across the province.

The flu vaccine

The flu vaccine components 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.

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 protect you for two flu seasons.

Who should get the flu vaccine?

Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends everyone aged six months and older should get a flu vaccine (except people with an egg allergy or other conditions). The vaccine is important for people at higher risk of developing health complications from the flu, including adults and children with long-term health problems, people who are pregnant, or people in contact with or caring for individuals who are at higher risk for complications. For a full list of people considered higher risk, please check the HealthLink BC website

An influenza vaccination card can be requested from the nurse as proof of receiving the flu vaccine.

Individuals with an allergy

Speak to your health care provider if you have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the flu vaccine.  

For more information, refer to HealthLink BC.

People who are pregnant

The flu vaccine is available for people who are pregnant. People who are in their first trimester will be asked to provide a physician’s note at the clinic prior to being vaccinated.

Benefits of the flu vaccine

The flu vaccine is a safe and effective way to help you stay healthy, prevent illness and protect yourself and others from getting sick. When you get the flu vaccine, your body's immune system develops protection (antibodies) against the strains of the virus in the vaccine. This protects you against the flu more than people who do not get the annual flu vaccine.

The antibodies you develop after getting the flu vaccine 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 70% of vaccinated persons. As a result, your time spent being ill from the flu is either eliminated or greatly reduced.

Possible side effects of the flu vaccine

In some cases, people may experience redness or soreness where the flu shot was given. Other symptoms may include localized swelling at the injection site, fever, headache and aching muscles for about 6 to 12 hours after receiving the vaccine. Anaphylaxis is a rare and extreme allergic reaction which can occur if a person is allergic to any of the components of the vaccine.

Speak to your healthcare provider to find out if receiving the flu vaccine is right for you.

Preventing the flu

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 all help you maintain 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 vaccine