Cold and flu (influenza) supports for BC Public Service employees

Last updated: April 29, 2022

If you work for the BC Public Service and your worksite is registered, you can receive the annual influenza vaccine ('flu shot') at your worksite.

Contractors who work with BC Public Service employees are also eligible to receive the influenza vaccine. The worksite program is provided for your convenience and there's no cost to you.

Clinics will be taking place from late October to December.

Early Bird registration will be announced soon. Stay tuned to be entered in our draw to win fun prizes!


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Prevention

There are steps you can do to help prevent respiratory infections this season, whether a common cold, influenza, COVID-19, or other respiratory infections.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting adequate sleep are general practices for overall health; however, use the following best practices to keep yourself and our workplaces healthy:

  • Follow Provincial Health Officer orders and guidance
  • Get your influenza vaccine every year, and also get vaccinated against COVID-19
  • Stay home if you're sick, make sure you take time to recover
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds (or use hand sanitizer) often
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Wear a mask (or face covering) when in indoor public spaces
  • Be mindful of close contact with others

About influenza

Influenza (often called 'the flu') is an acute infection of the respiratory system caused by influenza A or B virus. It is highly contagious.

Influenza spreads easily from person to person through coughing, sneezing, or having face-to-face contact.

The virus can also spread when a person touches tiny droplets from a cough or sneeze and then touches their eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.

A person with influenza is at risk of complications; including getting other infections such as viral or bacterial pneumonia, which is an infection of the lungs.

Infants, very young children, pregnant women, the elderly, people with certain medical conditions and indigenous people are at very high risk of serious illness from influenza.

Influenza can cause serious illness and can lead to complications, hospitalization and even death.

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.


Influenza (flu) clinics

Early Bird registration will be announced soon! Stay tuned to be entered in our draw to win fun prizes!

The BC Public Service Cold and Flu clinic program runs yearly from October to December. If you want to host a clinic at your worksite get in touch with Cold.Flu@gov.bc.ca.

This program is offered by request only. Without a volunteer worksite contact your group will not have a clinic.

Clinics are created in alignment with Public Health safety standards. Clinics can either be open to everyone or site specific.

If you're keen to receive information on upcoming clinics in your area but do not necessarily want to host one, register with Cold and Flu to receive updates.

As a worksite contact you will be asked to:

  • Register with the cold and flu program
  • Work with our clinic providers to pick a date for a clinic at your location
  • Pass along information on your clinic to your worksite colleagues
  • Onsite set up as per guidelines for the safe management of flu clinics

The influenza (flu) vaccine

Some of 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.

To maximize your protection, get vaccinated each year as the specific viruses included in each vaccine vary.

In addition, it's important to know that the protection you got from the vaccine becomes less effective over time (your immunity slowly goes away) and would not adequately protect you beyond that particular season.


Benefits and risks

The influenza vaccine is safe and one of the most effective ways to help stay healthy, prevent illness and protect yourself and others. When you get vaccinated against influenza, your body's immune system develops protection (antibodies and a memory if it sees the virus again in the future) against the strains of the virus in the vaccine.

The immune system, including your antibodies, helps prevent infection and reduces the risk of severe disease and death.

In some years, not all the strains in the vaccine are well-matched to the strains of influenza virus circulating in the community, but the vaccine is still very effective at preventing influenza in up to 7 out of 10 vaccinated persons. This means your time spent being ill from influenza is either eliminated or greatly reduced.

In some cases, people may experience redness or soreness where the vaccine was given.

Other symptoms may include localized swelling, fever, headache and aching muscles approximately 6 to 12 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, but each immunizer is ready to manage these rare reactions very effectively and safely.


Who should get vaccinated against influenza?

Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that everyone 6 months old or older should get the influenza vaccine (except in the rare few with a contra-indication).

The vaccine is especially important for people who are at much higher risk of developing problems from influenza like severe disease, complications and death, including:

  • Infants
  • Very young children
  • Adults and children who have chronic health conditions
  • Pregnant women
  • The elderly
  • Indigenous people

The vaccine is also very important for those in contact with, or caring for, individuals who are at much high risk for severe disease, complications and death.

For a list of others who are considered to be at much higher risk, please check the HealthLink BC website. 

If you plan on visiting a health care facility or other patient care location, you'll be expected to wear a mask if you did not get vaccinated against influenza. 

Be sure to request a proof of influenza vaccination card from the nurse upon vaccination.

Allergic individuals

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


For more information