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All eligible British Columbians to get free flu shot

All British Columbians encouraged to book an appointment and roll up their sleeve.
This year, influenza vaccines are available to pharmacies through a direct-distribution model.

The province is rolling out free flu shots to everyone over the age of six months in B.C.

It was previously available free only for high-risk groups, including seniors in long-term and continuing care homes.

Getting your flu shot is strongly encouraged this year because of the pressure COVID-19 is already putting on the health-care system.

"All British Columbians should get vaccinated against influenza to protect themselves and their loved ones from serious illness, to reduce the strain on our hard-working health workers and to do our part to make sure the health system continues to be there for people who need it, where they need it and when they need it," said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, in a written statement.

"This year, it's especially important for people to get vaccinated against influenza. Last year's low influenza rates means our immunity against influenza is lower than usual," added provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Remember to plan ahead to get your shot — as this year most places will require you to book in advance. You can check your local health authority's website or call your health-care provider or pharmacist to check for availability and to make an appointment.

This year, influenza vaccines are available to pharmacies through a direct-distribution model. This means pharmacies are able to order vaccines directly from distributors.

"Pharmacists played a key role in helping people get immunized against COVID-19 earlier this year and administered the majority of influenza doses last year," said Geraldine Vance, CEO of the BC Pharmacy Association. "We're proud of the role we continue to play in protecting our health-care system and keeping everyone safe."

Children two to 17 years of age who are eligible for a flu vaccine can receive FluMist Quadrivalent by nasal spray. The nasal spray vaccine will be available at health units, some pharmacies and some doctors' offices.

Last year, the province acquired millions of extra doses of flu shots and offered them free to high-risk groups and people who lived in the same household, but this is the first time it’s been free for everyone over the age of six months.

More details on the influenza vaccine in B.C. can be found online.