It took two parking attendants to handle the traffic heading for Trinity Baptist Church on Monday as the first flu shot clinic of the season opened for business.
Every year public health nurses assemble for a series of fall flu shot clinics designed to give those most at risk of contracting influenza and suffering serious consequences from the viruses a free vaccination.
“We’re doing quite well today, so we’ll probably do about 2000 (vaccinations),” said Joey Willis, flu coordinator.
This year the flu vaccination covers three strains—California, Brisbane and Perth. The strains are named for their point of origin and selected based on what’s affected the Southern Hemisphere.
“Strains usually start in the southern hemisphere and then move their way across,” explained Willis.
The influenza virus can be killed with sunlight, disinfectant and detergents, hence it tends to hit en masse in the winter and surfaces in the southern and northern hemispheres at different times of the year coinciding with winter in each hemisphere.
Determining whether or not one is eligible for a free vaccine is quite simple, Willis said. There is information on the Interior Health website, www.interiorhealth.ca, and the flu hotline, 250-868-7715.
In general, the vaccine is available for those 65 years of age and older or those living with someone 65 and older. Small children, aged six months to 23 months, are also eligible as well as those living with children who fall within that age range.
Anyone with chronic health conditions is also eligible as are those who care for others, such as nurses. Anyone who is not eligible for a free immunization can always purchase the vaccine at a pharmacy (usually $25) where the pharmacist will administer it.