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Free flu shots available

Flu season is back and the Vancouver Island Health Authority is urging you to take up needlepoint.

Public health clinics providing free flu shots to people at high risk of complications from influenza are now underway on Vancouver Island, VIHA announced Monday.

“People who are at high-risk can suffer severe complications or even death from influenza,” said Dr. Dee Hoyano, medical health officer for the Vancouver Island Health Authority said in a media release.

“The most common complication, particularly for elderly people, is pneumonia, an infection of the lungs. Influenza can also lead to other complications for people who have heart, lung or other health conditions.”

Free flu shots are provided to the following groups:

· People 65 years of age and over and their caregivers

· Children and adults with chronic health conditions and their household contacts

· Health care workers

· Emergency responders

· Healthy children aged 6-59 months (up to five years)

· Household contacts and caregivers of infants and children under five years

· Pregnant women who will be in their 3rd trimester during the influenza season

· Residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities

· Owners and operators of poultry farms

· Aboriginal people

· People who are very overweight (those with a body mass index of 40 or greater)

· Corrections officers and inmates in provincial correctional institutions

· Those who provide care or service in potential outbreak settings housing high risk persons (e.g. crew on ships)

Flu clinic schedules are available at www.viha.ca/flu.

Bring your CareCard or other government I.D. (valid driver’s license) to the clinic, and please wear a short sleeved shirt.

Those not eligible for the free vaccine should contact their family doctor, local pharmacy, walk-in clinic, or travel clinic.

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