You'll now be required to have your flu shot if you visit these healthcare facilities

Dec 10 2019, 3:46 pm

Flu season is in full swing, and Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) says their flu policy has taken effect at all VCH facilities.

Any visitors to VCH’s long-term care homes, community health care centres, and other health facilities are required to have a flu shot or wear a mask if they haven’t yet received their annual flu shot.

Each year in Canada, approximately 3,500 people die from the flu and its complications, and the policy is put in place to protect sick patients and seniors.

Influenza causes the most deaths among vaccine-preventable disease, said VCH in a release.

Hospitalized patients and seniors in long-term care are usually more vulnerable than healthy adults, making it important to get your flu shot or grab a mask if you plan to make visits to any of these facilities.

“The flu can be devastating for our patients because many have chronic health problems, including weakened immune systems, and are more susceptible to serious illness,” says VCH Medical Health Officer Dr. Meena Dawar.

“The best way to protect your loved ones in hospital is to get a flu shot, even if you’re normally a healthy individual. The shot will not only protect you from getting the flu, but also the people around you.”

Visitors to VCH health facilities from now to the end of the season — typically around the end of March 2020 — are being asked to get a flu shot or wear a mask when visiting patients or residents.

Flu shots for visitors are free and can be obtained at your family doctor, walk-in clinics, or pharmacies. The ImmunizeBC website lists all clinics across BC.

People who have not had a flu shot can obtain a surgical mask at a nursing station or outpatient reception desk.