Salt Spring Island children ages six months to 11 years old will be able to receive flu shots on a walk-in, no-appointment-necessary basis this week, as part of an immunization “blitz” announced by the provincial government in the wake of the deaths of six children and youth after contracting influenza in British Columbia.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the effort on Thursday, Dec. 8, adding that the government would now be providing regular weekly updates on flu-related deaths.
Drop-in clinics are spinning up throughout the province, and in every health region. Clinic hours on Salt Spring will be from 1 p.m. until about 3:45 p.m. each day this week until Thursday, Dec. 15, according to Island Health, who added that parents who come in with children and also needed a flu shot would be accommodated. No appointment is needed.
“This is an unusual season with unusual characteristics, including an early and intense surge in cases,” said Henry, adding that death associated with influenza in previously healthy children is a “tragic, but rare” event, and especially so in school-age children and teens.
Of the six reported influenza-associated deaths among children and youth, Henry said, two were between the ages of 15 and 19, three were between five and nine, and one was younger than five years old.
The Salt Spring Health Unit is located at 160 Fulford-Ganges Rd. For information, call 250-538-4708. For more information about the flu, call the Flu Hotline at 250-544-7676, ext. 27545 or visit the immunizebc.ca/influenza website.