No flu shot? You'll need to wear a mask in B.C. hospitals starting today

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If you haven’t had your flu shot yet, you’ll have to don a mask in B.C. healthcare facilities starting today, December 1.

That includes hospitals, long-term care homes, public health units, and outpatient clinics and will be provided by the facility free of charge.

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In Canada each year, 3,500 deaths result from the flu and its complications. The most vulnerable groups are hospitalized patients and seniors in residential care homes, says B.C.’s Ministry of Health.

The flu shot is free in B.C. for seniors 65 and older, children between the ages of six months and five years, pregnant women, people with chronic health issues or compromised immune systems, and Aboriginal people.

The Ministry says the flu is highly contagious for the first 24 hours and can spread easily before people even realize they’re sick.

Children aged two to 17 have another option: a nasal spray flu vaccine. It’s provided free of charge to children at serious risk of contracting influenza or live with someone who is at risk.

More than 3,400 pharmacists in B.C. are authorized to give immunizations. Last year, pharmacists gave more than 430,000 flu shots to people in the province.

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Lauren Sundstrom Lauren is a Staff Writer and Projects Assistant at Vancity Buzz. She is a graduate of BCIT's Broadcast and Online Journalism program. She loves reporting on breaking news and lifestyle content. If you feel like you have a story that needs to be told, fire her a tweet.

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