Influenza vaccine, also known as the flu shot, can help prevent you from getting sick with influenza or from spreading it to others.
In BC, the vaccine is available in October or early November. It is best to try to get the influenza vaccine by the end of November to allow your body enough time - about two weeks - to build immunity before the influenza season starts. However, the vaccine can offer protection if given at any time during the season.
The Canadian Sentinel Practitioner Surveillance Network
(SPSN) is the only system in Canada to monitor how well the influenza vaccine protects people from influenza viruses circulating in the community each year. The SPSN uses the test-negative design, drawing on swabs and information collected from patients seeking care for flu-like illness at one of several hundred community practitioners belonging to the network.
Family practitioners in BC who would like to join are asked to contact the BCCDC team at
or 1-888-881-8886. Patients can also encourage their own family doctors to join by sharing information about the network with them.
General practitioners in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec are also encouraged to apply to join the Canadian SPSN network for flu virus and vaccine effectiveness monitoring. More details can be found on the SPSN page