VANCOUVER, Nov. 5, 2015 /CNW/ - Now more than ever, busy BC families are taking advantage of pharmacies as an accessible and convenient option for getting their flu shot.
Last year, it's estimated that BC pharmacists gave nearly half a million flu shots. This is up from nearly 30,000 shots in the 2009/10 flu season, when pharmacists were first given the authority to administer injections.
"The public want more convenience when accessing health care," says Geraldine Vance, CEO of the BC Pharmacy Association. "Community pharmacists are a key health-care provider for patient immunizations."
Nearly 94 per cent of all pharmacies in BC have at least one pharmacist authorized to give immunizations (more than 3,400 pharmacists across the province). Pharmacists in BC can also immunize against other illnesses including pneumonia, human papillomavirus (HPV), shingles and tetanus.
Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. In Canada, thousands of people are hospitalized and each year approximately 3,500 die from the disease.
Getting immunized remains one of the best ways to protect yourself, and others, against influenza. It is particularly important for people at increased risk of complications from the flu.
A large number of people are eligible for the flu vaccine at no cost to them, including young children, pregnant women, seniors and people with certain medical conditions, as well as those able to transmit or spread influenza to those at high risk.
For the small percentage of the population who do not qualify for the publicly-funded vaccine, it can be purchased for around $20-25 at a pharmacy.
"It's very convenient for busy families who want to have everyone in the family vaccinated to visit a community pharmacy at a time that suits them," says Vance.
In BC, flu season generally runs from November to April. Although you can receive the vaccine at any time during the season, it advisable to get immunized as soon as possible for best protection.
To find out where to get a flu shot call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 or visit the Influenza Clinic Locator at: www.immunizebc.ca/clinics/flu
About the BC Pharmacy Association
The British Columbia Pharmacy Association is a not-for-profit professional association that represents more than 3,000 pharmacists and more than 850 pharmacies throughout British Columbia. Recognized as the voice for community pharmacy, the Association aims to support and advance the professional role and economic viability of its members so they may provide enhanced patient-centred care.
SOURCE British Columbia Pharmacy Association
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