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Early flu shots urged to help prevent spread into long-term care centres amid COVID

FILE: A person gets a shot during a flu vaccine program in Calgary on Oct. 26, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Summary

The flu season ahead during a global pandemic has long-term care centres asking you to get your vaccinations early on

The BC Care Providers Association says it is a very unusual year, with the flu season approaching within a pandemic

People should get flu shots as early as possible to help prevent spread into long term, assisted living: Terry Lake says

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Get your flu shot as early as you can — not just for you, but to help protect the most vulnerable around you.

That is the message as long-term care centres in B.C. prepare for a flu season within a pandemic.

“It is a very unusual year,” says Terry Lake, CEO of the BC Care Providers Association, the voice of non-government continuing care operators in British Columbia.

“Fortunately, many of the measures that care operators have been taking to battle COVID-19 will also help reduce the prevalence and the rate of infection of seasonal flu as well. That’s a positive.”

Lake points to Australia, which dealt with its winter flu season through July and August.

“The rate of flu prevalence there was much lower this year for those reasons. We also, through the work of the federal and provincial governments, have a high-dose flu vaccine that is being made available to both long-term care and assisted living residents. That will have a greater response in older residents so it will help to keep the impact of the flu down this year,” he says, adding that it has never been more important to prevent the spread of the virus this year.

“Obviously, with COVID-19, if you were to encounter both viruses, the outcome could be even more severe, and deadly in many cases,” Lake says.

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“So it’s not just important for residents of long-term care and assisted living to get that high-dose flu shot, but for people in the community to go out and get their flu shot early on so that we can prevent community spread into our very vulnerable populations.”

Lake, again, urges everyone to roll up their sleeves.

“It’s to protect not just yourself, but those vulnerable people around you.”