People are encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and influenza for the most effective protection in the fall.
The COVID-19 fall booster program started early in September and will be joined by the annual influenza vaccine campaign in October.
With the start of the respiratory illness season, it is expected that COVID-19 cases will increase as more people gather indoors. The Province is preparing for the possibility of an influenza surge, following two years of low influenza rates due to public health restrictions that reduced travel and socialization.
Hospitals throughout the province have been planning for various scenarios and are ready to respond to an influx of patients requiring care for COVID-19 or influenza.
Invitations for fall booster doses are going to people who had their last COVID-19 vaccine at least six months ago. Invitations are distributed in priority order based on age and risk factors for severe outcomes from COVID-19. People are encouraged to book a vaccination appointment as soon as they get their invitation.
People in long-term care and assisted-living facilities, along with others at risk, will be able to get their influenza vaccine starting the week of Oct. 3. The influenza campaign will launch the week of Oct. 11, following the long weekend, and vaccines will be available in participating pharmacies and health authority clinics.
Public health officials continue to recommend the influenza vaccine for everyone in B.C. older than six months and to offer it for free.
Additionally, for the first time, all seniors older than 65 can get a free enhanced influenza vaccine this year. Enhanced influenza vaccines give seniors better protection against influenza than standard-dose vaccines. Enhanced influenza vaccines stimulate stronger immune responses, which compensate for the natural weakening of the immune system that occurs with age.
Eligible people can get an influenza vaccine and a COVID-19 fall booster at the same time.
New in 2022, people will be able to book their influenza vaccine through the provincial Get Vaccinated system, just like booking COVID-19 vaccines.
- The Province is offering all adults older than 18 and youth 12 to 17 who are at high risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 the new combination bivalent vaccine through the fall booster program.
- Children and youth aged five to 17 are also eligible for COVID-19 booster doses. Parents and guardians will receive invitations to book booster appointments when their children are eligible.
- Public health officials look to the influenza season in the Southern Hemisphere to help anticipate the severity of the season in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, the season started earlier and infections rates were higher than during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
- B.C. will distribute more than 1.8 million doses of influenza vaccines for the 2022-23 influenza season, including more than 660,000 doses of enhanced influenza vaccines for seniors.
- It is safe to get an influenza vaccine at the same time as a COVID-19 booster.
For more information about the fall outlook for respiratory viruses, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/briefings
For more information about COVID-19 booster doses, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/booster
To register with the Get Vaccinated system, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/register
To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines for children, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/children