Flu vaccinations are available at pharmacies

Fraser Health scales down mobile flu shot clinics

Vaccinations shift to pharmacies and doctor's offices instead, pregnant women key target for flu shot this year

Fraser Health is conducting fewer mobile flu vaccination clinics in the community than it did a few years ago.

Spokesperson Tasleem Juma said the gradual decrease over the past three years has been in response to less demand for the Fraser-run clinics at places like libraries and community centres.

Virtually all pharmacies and many doctor’s offices now offer flu shots, she said, and there’s been a steady increase each year in people, particularly seniors, getting their vaccinations at those locations, often when they pick up prescriptions.

Juma said some Fraser Health-run mobile clinics are still offered but they are increasingly geared to people who are less likely to use the other options.

Some are set up at homeless shelters to serve the homeless.

For locations and information on getting a flu shot, see http://www.fraserhealth.ca/flushot.

Juma said Fraser Health is trying to encourage more pregnant women to get the flu shot this year, adding concerns about the vaccine’s safety are misplaced.

Getting a flu shot, especially in late pregnancy, provides protection for babies during the flu season when they are most at risk of serious disease, because they can’t get a shot until six months of age, she noted.

“It reduces my baby’s risk of getting the flu,” said Dr. Nao Nakatsuka, an obstetrician/gynaecologist at Royal Columbian Hospital, who is pregnant and featured in a new Fraser Health video. (See below.)

“The flu vaccine is very safe in pregnancy and this has been proven in multiple studies in the past.”

Nakatsuka said pregnant women who get the flu can suffer more severe symptoms than the general population, adding some moms-to-be were hospitalized for long periods of their pregnancies last year at Royal Columbian.

Household members of pregnant women and newborns should also be vaccinated to help protect mom and baby and they’re also eligible for free vaccine.