Vancouver, BC – Now that flu season has started all visitors to Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) facilities are being asked to wear a mask if they haven't received their annual flu shot. The policy is part of the province's strategy to prevent the spread of flu and protect already vulnerable patients from a potentially fatal infection.
"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's 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."
The policy is applicable to all patient care areas in VCH hospitals, residential care homes, community health care centres and other health facilities from now to the end of the season, which typically is the end of March 2019. 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 B.C. at immunizebc.ca.
People who have not had a flu shot can obtain a surgical mask at a nursing station or outpatient reception desk. Doctors, staff, students and volunteers are also required to get immunized or wear a mask while at work during the flu season.