5 October 2020
We have received our first batch of flu vaccine and we ask that you phone us to book your flu shots.
We anticipate a much higher demand for flu shots this year. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided more challenges in providing this service. Our goal is to provide a safe environment for providing these flu shots, but we need your cooperation:
- We ask that you try to come in as one family bubble at one time. This way we can make sure we have enough time slots for all out patients. A family bubble may consist of one single person, living by themselves or a large family.
- Try to not show up more than 5 minutes prior to your scheduled time.
- On arrival:
- Wear a mask
- Clean you hands (we have a hand sanitizing dispenser at our front door)
- Do not sit in the waiting room. We will have you come into the examination room immediately.
- We ask that if it is possible, to not sit on the chairs or examination table in the examination room. We have to clean in between every family that enters that room. This way we can minimize the amount of time we need to clean.
- I will come into the room and give you your flu shot. Due to time constrictions, I will only be able to do your flu shot and we will not be able to spend time on any other medical concerns you may have. Sorry! If you have any other medical concerns/questions that need attention, please talk to our receptionists and we will schedule a virtual visit to address this.
- Do not come to the clinic under the following circumstances:
- If you had any cold or flu-like symptoms in the past 14 days, even if you thought it was very mild and even if you had a negative COVID-19 swab.
- If you have been in close contact with anybody who had cold or flu-like symptoms in the past 14 days.
- If you traveled outside of Canada’s borders in the past 14 days.
- Or if in the past 14 days you have been to any facility (like a restaurant or care facility) which subsequently came under watch for potential COVID-19 exposure.
- After you received your flu shot, we ask that you and your family need to leave as soon as possible and not crowd the waiting room or the hallways. The next family will be arriving soon.
Who should get a flu shot? In our opinion everybody should get a flu shot. Sadly flu shots are not provided for free for everybody in BC. However, most people will qualify for a free flu shot. If you are not sure if you qualify for a free flu shot, please see the BC 2020/2021 Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Eligibility. Most times you will be able to find an indication for a free flu shot.
New this year:
- Flumist (nasal spray influenza vaccination) is back again this year and free to children ages 2-17 years. (Currently we have not received any Flumist from IHA yet and we have not received confirmation if we will be provided any. We did request this.) Other than all the other influenza vaccinations, Flumist is a live, but weakened, flu virus. It is not recommended for children with severe or uncontrolled asthma or children who are immunocompromised.
- Like last year, it is recommended for children to receive the quadrivalent influenza vaccine. This vaccine contains 4 strains of the flu virus (2 influenza A and 2 influenza B) compared to the 3 strains that we give to adults (containing 1 strain influenza B only). The reason is that children are more likely to get Influenza B than adults. Fluzone, Flulaval and Flumist are all quadrivalent vaccines. Currently we have not received any of the quadrivalent vaccines from IHA yet. We have been told that we can expect a delivery of this sometime next week. The BCCDC recommends that if we do not have the quadrivalent vaccine available that children should receive any of the other available trivalent influenza vaccines.
- Fluzone-High-Dose: This vaccine contains 4 times the usual amount of the usual influenza vaccine. It is intended for patients over the age of 65, for whom it has shown to be more effective than the usual influenza vaccine. This is currently provided only free to patients who lives in a care facility and is over the age or 65. If you are over the age of 65, but do not live in a care facility, and you are interested in receiving FluzoneHD, you can purchase it from your pharmacy.
- Fluad: This is an influenza vaccine with an adjuvant (a booster that increases the immune response to the vaccine). This is indicated and provided free for patients over the age of 65. Fluad has shown in a study to provide greater protection against flu related hospital admissions compared to other flu vaccines. Currently we are told we might receive a shipment of Fluad late in October. If you are over the age of 65, you are willing to wait until late October or early November to get your flu shot and you are interested in receiving Fluad, please let us know. We will then place an order with IHA for the amount of Fluad that we need.
If you are due to receive a Pneumovax (pneumococcal vaccination) as well, please let us know and we will give you this at the same time. The following people should get Pneumovax:
- Anybody over the age of 65 get a one time dose. (only given once, no booster doses needed)
- If you are younger than 65, but have certain medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease, or diabetes.
- You may need a second dose every 5 years for certain medical conditions (previous spleen removal; immune-compromised state etc.)
In the future days I will post more about common questions we receive about flu shots.