Health Minister Terry Lake gets his annual flu shot last week.

Smithers residents encouraged to get immunized

The provincial government is urging people to get flu shots early this year.

With the weather quickly dropping and snow climbing down the mountain, the provincial government is urging people to get flu shots early this year.

“Getting the influenza shot is the most effective and safest way to protect yourself against the flu each year,” said Taryn Opel, public health nurse with Northern Health. “Not only are you protecting yourself from the flu, but you’re also protecting those around you who may be at higher risk of contracting the flu.”

This week, Northern Health is holding a series of free flu clinics in Smithers for people who are eligible.

People who are eligible to receive the shots for free include seniors, Aboriginal people, children between six months and five years of age, and people with chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems.

“We would like to see people get out and get vaccinated,” said Opel, noting that the flu season generally runs from November to April.

“What I’ve heard from our medical health officer is that the flu could be on our doorsteps in November easily, so get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

People can drop in to the Smithers Health Unit on Alfred Avenue to receive the shots. The clinic runs on Nov. 6 and 13 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1 p.m.-6 p.m., and on Nov. 7 and 14 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.

No appointments are necessary.

Flu shots can also be obtained at local doctors’ offices and pharmacies.

For more information, visit immunizebc.ca or call the Smithers Public Health Unit at 250-847-6400.