As a result of public health measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, there were no signs of the influenza virus in B.C. during the 2020-21 season. This may have led to a lower than usual immunity in British Columbians heading into respiratory illness season this year.
Influenza virus can cause serious respiratory illness requiring hospitalization, which can place additional demand on our healthcare system.
To reduce the spread of influenza this season, the Province of British Columbia is distributing close to 2.5 million doses of influenza vaccine throughout the province to a variety of health care providers in October and November.
Influenza vaccines are very effective against illness, hospitalization and death due to influenza in seasons where the circulating strains of influenza virus are well matched to the vaccine strains.
This year in B.C., all of the influenza vaccines used in B.C. contain protection against two strains of influenza A and two strains of influenza B.
You can get your COVID-19 vaccine any time before or after your influenza vaccine.
Getting an influenza vaccine in the fall is particularly important for those who are at the highest risk of complications from influenza such as infants, seniors and people with chronic medical conditions, as well as those who can spread it to them, including health care workers and household contacts.
To make getting your influenza vaccine as convenient as possible, influenza vaccines will be available at most pharmacies, doctor's and nurse practitioner's offices, public health units, travel vaccination clinics and walk-in clinics.
Influenza vaccines will be available free of charge to B.C. residents older than six months.
Pharmacists can immunize people five years of age and older with injectable vaccine and two years and older with nasal spray influenza vaccine.
Find a flu clinic near you.
- Get your influenza vaccine.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, mouth and nose.
- Cough and sneeze in your elbow.
- Stay at home if you feel unwell.
- Stay away from people at higher risk of serious illness if you are sick.
Learn more about the influenza virus and its symptoms.