Cold and flu supports for BC Public Service employees

Last updated: October 22, 2021

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.

Sign up now for your flu shot appointment!
Employee registration now extended until November 4.
Book your flu shot appointment online as soon as possible. Workplace clinics are filling up quickly.

Clinics will be taking place in late October to December. See Register for a Flu Clinic for more information or reach out directly to your worksite contact.


On this page:


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:

  • Follow Provincial Health Officer orders and guidance
  • Get a flu shot, get a COVID-19 shot
  • 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
  • Stay home if you’re sick, make sure you take time to recover

About the flu

Influenza (often called the flu) is an acute infection of the upper airway caused by influenza A or B virus. It is highly contagious. The flu 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 other infections, including viral or bacterial pneumonia, which is an infection of the lungs.

Young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with certain medical conditions are at high risk of serious illness from the flu.

Influenza can cause serious illness and can lead to 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. 


Register for a workplace flu clinic

Sign up now for your flu shot. Online registration extended until November 4.

Workplace flu clinics are only possible due to the efforts and dedication of employees who volunteer to be a designated worksite contact.

All employees must book their appointment online; registered 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 only. Step-by-step instructions on how to use the online booking site will be sent by email from your worksite contact.

  • Employees must wear a mask or face covering
  • If you are unable to attend your regularly scheduled clinic, please cancel your appointment and inform your worksite contact if your clinic is site-specific to ensure your spot does not go to waste.
  • If you are seeking another flu clinic date, time, at a neighbouring, available clinic location, please visit the online booking site. 

Workplace flu clinics are categorized in two ways, site-specific and available.

  • Site-specific: This means your workplace is hosting a clinic which is only open to colleagues who work at this specific location or who have building access. If your workplace is hosting a ‘site specific’ flu clinic, you should have received an email directly from your worksite contact containing everything you need to know. This email will contain a unique online registration link which is only applicable to your workplace. It is not searchable on the general, available flu clinic listing site.
  • Available: This means your workplace is hosting a clinic that is available/open for any BC public service employee from any neighbouring ministry or participating eligible organization to attend. You can search for all available flu clinics across the province via the online booking site.

If you experience difficulties with the booking process, please contact HealthServ directly by calling 1-800-270-8048, extension 225 during normal workday business hours 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 the team at cold.flu@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 2021 is an inactivated vaccine (killed virus) that provides protection against the following four influenza viruses: 

  • A/Victoria (H1N1)
  • A/Cambodia (H3N2)
  • B/Washington (B/Victoria)
  • B/Phuket (B/Yamagata)

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.


Benefits and 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.


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 will 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.

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.


For more information