By Fran Yanor / Legislative Reporter

Northern Health has already received more influenza vaccines this flu season than it administered all of last winter, with more vaccines yet to arrive, according to a spokesperson for the health authority.

“There’s been more interest in people getting their flu shot this year,” said Eryn Collins of Northern Health. “People were quite motivated.”

So far, B.C. has distributed more than two million flu shots to health authorities across the province, with about 77,000 doses allotted to the north. Although data was not available on how many vaccines have been administered in Northern Health, the number of those distributed has already surpassed the 66,500 shots that were administered during the entirety of the 2019/20 influenza season.

“We’re doing record numbers of immunizations against influenza,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.

As of Nov. 23, more than 1 million of the vaccines in the province were already administered, said Dix.

Initial heavy demand for the vaccine created temporary shortages in different parts of the north, but more vaccine doses are expected during the beginning and latter parts of December.

“So, there are, in some cases, additional clinic opportunities being scheduled,” Collins said.
Specific data on Robson Valley wasn’t available.

Northern Health recommends people most at risk for severe symptoms due to the flu should get vaccinated, including those with heart, autoimmune, kidney, liver, and metabolic diseases such as diabetes, cancer patients, seniors, people who are obese, pregnant women, children under 5 years old, Indigenous people, and people working with poultry.

“Even though the current levels of flu activity in BC are extremely low right now, it is a very potentially serious illness for a lot of people,” Collins said.

Front line healthcare workers, visitors to long-term care or assisted living facilities, people living with high-risk individuals, and first responders are also encouraged to get the vaccine.

“It’s never too late to get your flu shot,” said Collins. “Getting your flu shot now gives you the immunity that will carry you through influenza season.”

In the Robson Valley, the flu vaccine can be obtained by appointment at the McBride Health Unit, the Valemount Health Centre. Blue River residents can go to the Clearwater Health Centre.

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Fran Yanor / Local Journalism Initiative / Fran