With flu season here, all visitors to Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) facilities are asked to get immunized or wear a mask if they haven’t received their annual flu shot.
Influenza causes the most deaths among vaccine-preventable disease. Each year in Canada, approximately 3,500 people die from the flu and its complications. Hospitalized patients and seniors in long-term care are usually more vulnerable than healthy adults.
“The flu can be devastating for our patients because many have chronic health problems including weakened immune systems and are more susceptible to serious illness,” says VCH’s Medical Health Officer Dr. Meena Dawar. “The best way to protect your loved ones in hospital is to get a flu shot, even if you’re normally a healthy individual. The shot will not only protect you from getting the flu, but also the people around you.”
Visitors to VCH hospitals, long-term care homes, community health care centres and other health facilities from now to the end of the season, which typically is the end of March 2020, are being asked to get a flu shot or wear a mask when visiting patients or residents. Flu shots for visitors are free and can be obtained at your family doctor, walk-in clinics or pharmacies. The ImmunizeBC website lists all clinics across B.C. at immunizebc.ca.
People who have not had a flu shot can obtain a surgical mask at a nursing station or outpatient reception desk.
VCH is responsible for the delivery of $3.6 billion in community, hospital and long-term care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola. VCH also provides specialized care and services for people throughout BC, and is the province’s hub of health care education and research.