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Don't go viral, New Westminster; get a flu shot!: Fraser Health

Going viral isn’t cool, not when it comes to the flu. That’s the message the Fraser Health Authority is hoping to get out this flu season.
flu shot
Seven-month-old New Westminster resident Harrison John Green expresses displeasure at being poked with a flu shot by nurse Karyn Jacob as his mom, Jacqueline Blackwell, watches.

Going viral isn’t cool, not when it comes to the flu.

That’s the message the Fraser Health Authority is hoping to get out this flu season.

The health authority launched its annual flu immunization campaign Monday, urging local residents to get a flu shot.  

Shots are now available at New Westminister doctors’ offices, walk-in clinics, public health-led flu clinics and Urgent Primary Care Centres.

Anyone five years of age or older can also be immunized at a pharmacy.

To find a flu clinic near you, click here.

“This is one of those times when ‘going viral’ is not cool,” Fraser Health medical health officer Dr. Aamir Bharmal said in a press release. “Instead, help protect vulnerable members of our communities including infants, young children, pregnant women, and people with underlying health conditions, by getting your flu shot.”

The flu shot is recommended for everyone six months of age and older.

It’s free for all children between six months and five years old, seniors 65 years and older, pregnant women, Indigenous people and individuals with chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems.

People who work or live with people who have a higher risk of complications from the flu and visitors to health care facilities are also eligible for a free vaccine.

But be prepared to get poked with a needle, since the FluMist intranasal version of the vaccine won’t be available in Canada this year because of a global shortage caused by a shortage of the active ingredient, according to the Drug Shortages Canada website.

flu shot
Flu shot - Fraser Health

All B.C. health authorities require their staff, students, volunteers and physicians to get immunized or wear a mask while at work during the flu season.

Those who decide not to get vaccinated should be prepared to wear a mask starting Dec. 1 if they’re visiting a Fraser Health facility.

Masks will be available at nursing stations and/or outpatient reception desks.

Influenza is a virus that causes infection of the upper airway and can lead to symptoms of fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches and cough.

Complications from influenza, such as pneumonia, are more common in the very young, the elderly and those with heart, lung or other health conditions.

Influenza is easily spread from person to person, and an infected person can spread the virus before they are even sick with symptoms.