Visitors to health-care facilities reminded to get vaccinated
Members of the public are being reminded that beginning Dec. 2, 2013, if they are visiting someone in a health-care facility, they will be expected to have been vaccinated or wear a mask to help protect those most vulnerable this influenza season. Anyone who enters a hospital, long-term care facility or any other health-care facility will be expected to wear a mask if they have not been vaccinated against influenza. Masks will be available, free of charge, for those who have not been vaccinated.
Visitors join health-care workers, volunteers and contractors to support a comprehensive influenza prevention strategy to protect patient safety. The best way for visitors to help protect their loved ones in hospitals, long-term care facilities and other health-care facilities is to get vaccinated. All health authorities will rely on the honour system to monitor visitor compliance with this policy.
Anyone planning to visit patients in a health-care facility, or those who take family members to outpatient appointments, will be eligible for a free influenza shot from a pharmacist, doctor, nurse or any licensed practitioner.
Flu shots also are offered for free in B.C. to a number of individuals, including children, seniors, pregnant women, Aboriginal people, individuals with chronic health conditions, and those who work or come in close contact with higher-risk groups.
Influenza vaccination clinics are operating throughout the province. The influenza vaccine is safe and effective at preventing illness when used in conjunction with other infection control practices, such as hand washing and remaining at home when sick.
For more information about influenza and vaccination clinics, go to: www.immunizebc.ca