Health care workers urge flu shots for everyone

Langara nursing student Nicole Wood receives a flu injection from classmate Anne Lee. Photo by Richard Hodges.
Langara nursing student Nicole Wood receives a flu injection from classmate Anne Lee. Photo: Richard Hodges

With flu season nearly here, a shot in the arm could be all you need to avoid getting sick this winter.

The flu shot is offered for free to high-risk individuals, including seniors and children, but Langara nursing students Ann Lee and Nicole Wood recommend that even the young and healthy should stay safe and get injected.

“Because influenza is a viral infection that can affect anybody, it is important to prevent the flu by getting vaccinated,” Lee and Wood said in an email.

“The best time to get your flu shot is late October or early November to provide optimal protection.”

Getting the shot is good for you and helps with herd immunity

Tiffany Akins, spokesperson for Vancouver Coastal Health says getting a flu shot is important to help not spread the virus.

“Individuals can carry the influenza virus and unknowingly infect other people,” Akins said. “The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to get a flu shot every year.”

Akins added that the flu infects roughly 20 per cent of the population every year.

The vaccine is proven effective

Dr. Meena Dawar, Vancouver Coastal Health medical health officer, said that the province will purchase 1.1 million doses of vaccine, and that 40 per cent of B.C. citizens aged 12 to 64 will receive the shot this year.

“Influenza vaccine is a very effective and safe intervention,” Dawar said. “In a good year, vaccine is 70 to 80 per cent effective in preventing influenza illness.”

Nursing students help others cope with fear of needles

The biggest hurdle to getting shots is fear of needles. However, the nursing students are well versed in reducing anxiety.

“We can explain the procedures step by step so that they know what will be involved and to allow them to mentally prepare themselves,” Lee and Wood wrote. “One thing we do is ask the patient if they want to watch the procedure, and talking with our patients while the procedure is happening helps the person concentrate on something other than the shot.”

Where can Langara students get vaccinated?

Immunizations will take place by end of term. Seven nursing students will be in the main foyer of the A building on Oct. 30 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., Oct. 31 from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. and Nov. 6 and 7 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Reported by Richard Hodges

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