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Respiratory illness immunization campaign off to a good start

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Government of B.C. photo

People are rolling up their sleeves to protect themselves, their loved ones and the communities they live in against influenza and COVID-19 as the Province takes action to ensure it is easy and free to get immunized.

This year’s respiratory illness immunization campaign launched to the general population on Oct. 10, 2023. As of end of day, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023, B.C. has administered 1,072,505 doses of influenza vaccines and 847,458 COVID-19 vaccines.

“With respiratory illness season underway, people in B.C. should ensure they’re practising healthy habits,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, in a news release. “Now is the time to get your updated influenza and COVID-19 vaccines, which help to protect people against severe illness and hospitalization.”

The latest numbers from the BC Centre for Disease Control show that COVID-19 cases are decreasing after a peak in early October, with fewer cases and hospitalizations weekly. As of Nov. 9, there are 244 patients in hospital. Of those, eight are in critical care.

The provincial health officer reminds people in B.C. to stay home if they are presenting with symptoms of COVID-19, influenza, or other respiratory viruses to prevent transmission to other people, to cover coughs and sneezes by coughing or sneezing into an arm or sleeve, and to clean their hands frequently.

“Immunization is the best defence against influenza and COVID-19, and I’m thrilled that so many people are responding to our latest campaign and enthusiastically stepping up to do their part,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Everyone who wants a flu shot will receive one, and I continue to urge people aged six months and older to get their COVID-19 and influenza vaccines as soon as they are due. I want to thank all the health-care workers – the doctors, nurses and pharmacists – who are on the frontlines across B.C., providing vaccines and keeping our communities healthy and resilient.”

Most individuals registered in the Get Vaccinated system will have now received an invite for their next COVID-19 and influenza vaccines. The Province is making it convenient for people to get immunized with vaccines available in many health-authority clinics, primary-care providers’ offices, and more than 1,160 pharmacies offering both vaccines throughout the province. Vaccines remain free and available for everyone six months and older, including enhanced influenza vaccines for seniors.

People who are registered in the provincial Get Vaccinated system automatically receive notification to book their influenza and COVID-19 immunization online when they become due. Those who are not registered yet are encouraged to do so by visiting:

To continue ensuring hospitals have capacity in the event of increased demand during the respiratory season, plans are in place to add hospital beds and expedite patient flow as needed. This includes daily co-ordination planning between the Province, health authorities and the BC Emergency Health Services and continuing efforts to strengthen the health-care system through B.C.’s Health Human Resources Strategy.

“Healthy habits make a difference, helping to protect you and the people in your life,” Henry said. “Getting immunized today can help to protect you, your family, and your community. We can all do our part, and healthy habits start with you.”

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