Seasonal influenza clinics are proceeding in B.C. after use of one of the vaccines was briefly suspended for further testing.
Health Canada announced Wednesday that Novartis-made vaccines have been approved for use in Canada and Europe after an investigation of one batch in Europe. B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall said the suspension was precautionary and related to effectiveness, and there is no safety concern.
There are dedicated flu vaccination clinics at public health units, family doctors and pharmacists. To find the nearest clinic, use the flu clinic locator at www.immunizebc.ca or call Healthlink BC at 8-1-1.
The annual influenza vaccination gives priority to higher-risk patients such as seniors and those with chronic diseases, who receive the vaccine at no charge. Seasonal influenza is a severe respiratory illness that is responsible for hundreds of deaths in B.C. each year.
Because influenza is spread through sneezing, coughing and contact with contaminated surfaces, B.C. regulations have been changed to require all employees in health facilities or other contact points with high-risk groups to either get the influenza shot or wear a mask.