In B.C., the inactivated influenza vaccine or flu shot is provided free to the following groups of people.
People at high risk of serious illness from influenza, such as:
- children 6 months to less than 5 years of age;
- pregnant women who are at any stage of pregnancy during the influenza season;
- seniors 65 years and older;
- residents of any age living in residential care, assisted living or other group facilities;
- Aboriginal people;
- children and teenagers required to take Aspirin or ASA for long periods of time due to a medical condition; and
- children and adults with certain medical conditions, including:
- heart or lung disorders that require regular medical care, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or cystic fibrosis;
- kidney disease, chronic liver disease such as hepatitis, diabetes, cancer, anemia, or weakened immune system;
- those with health conditions causing difficulty breathing, swallowing, or a risk of choking on food or fluids, such as people with severe brain damage, spinal cord injury, seizures or neuromuscular disorders; and
- those who are very obese.
People able to transmit or spread influenza to those at high risk of serious illness from influenza including:
- household contacts of people at high risk;
- household contacts, caregivers and daycare staff of children under 5 years of age;
- doctors, nurses and others working in health care settings who have contact with patients;
- visitors to health care facilities and other patient care locations
- people who live or work in confined settings, such as correctional facilities; and
- those who provide care or service to people at high risk in potential outbreak settings such as cruise ships.
Other groups who are also eligible to receive the flu shot for free include:
- people who provide essential community services such as police officers, firefighters and ambulance attendants; and
- farmers and other people who work with live poultry.