Help Fight the Flu in B.C.
Influenza (also called the flu) spreads very easily and can cause serious complications or death in vulnerable people, including hospital or residential care patients. You can spread influenza for 24 hours before you have any symptoms, so you can pass the flu on to your family and friends before you even know you are sick.
The most effective way to prevent the spread of influenza is by getting a flu shot and washing your hands regularly. There are many locations across the province – including at pharmacies, clinics and doctors' offices - for those who want to get vaccinated. To find a location, search the ImmunizeBC's Influenza Clinic Finder. For more information on the vaccine, visit ImmunizeBC.
Visiting someone in hospital or a long-term care facility? Help protect them from the flu. See our frequently asked questions (PDF, 96KB) for more information.
Who is covered for the free vaccine?
Many people visiting someone in a health care facility will already be eligible for a free flu shot, as regular, close contacts of someone at high risk. If you do not meet any of the eligibility criteria, tell your health care provider that you will be visiting a health care facility and you will not need to pay for the flu shot.
The full list of those eligible for the free flu shot includes:
- Children six months to less than five years of age.
- Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy during the influenza season.
- Seniors 65 years and older.
- Residents of any age living in residential care, assisted living or other group facilities.
- Aboriginal people.
- Children and teenagers required to take Aspirin® or ASA for long periods of time due to a medical condition.
- Children and adults with certain medical conditions, including: ◦Heart or lung disorders that require regular medical care (e.g., asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis).
- Kidney disease and chronic liver disease (e.g., hepatitis, diabetes, cancer, anemia, weakened immune system).
- Those with health conditions that cause difficulty breathing, swallowing, or a risk of choking on food or fluids (e.g., people with severe brain damage, spinal cord injury, seizures or neuromuscular disorders).
- Those who are very obese.
- Household contacts of people at high risk.
- Household contacts, caregivers and daycare staff of children under five years of age.
- Doctors, nurses and other health care providers.
- People who live or work in confined settings (e.g., correctional facilities).
- Those who provide care or service to people at high risk in potential outbreak settings (e.g., cruise ships).
- People who provide essential community services (e.g., police officers, firefighters, paramedics).
- Farmers and other people who work with live poultry.
Learn more about influenza control strategies and policies in your local health authority:
- Fraser Health
- Interior Health
- Island Health
- Northern Health
- Providence Health Care (PDF, 77KB)
- Vancouver Coastal Health
Learn more about influenza from the following BC Healthfiles: