Flu season picks up as vaccine supply runs low

By Jill Sperling
December 29, 2016 - 3:15pm Updated: December 29, 2016 - 6:12pm

KAMLOOPS — If you find yourself coughing, sneezing, and running a fever, you're not alone. The last week in December and first few weeks of January is typically the time of year when influenza cases pick up. 

There have been 86 lab confirmed cases of influenza throughout Interior Health to date, 41 of those cases were in the Okanagan, and 29 in the Thompson-Cariboo. 

Influenza A, or H3N2, is the predominant strain this flu season, and it's one that this year's vaccine protects against.

Pamela de Bruin is the manager of communicable diseases and immunization with Interior Health. She says this year saw a greater number of people choosing to be immunized against the flu, and as a result the vaccine is currently more difficult to come by. 

"Everybody who's at risk and is eligible for publicly funded vaccine should still consider getting it." de Bruin said. "It's harder to get at this time of year because the supply is low so we encourage people to phone pharmacies, and when we hear about that demand then we can respond to it by ensuring the vaccine gets to those community pharmacies that are still seeing the demand."

de Bruin adds people aged 65 and older are more at risk for influenza, and that is the age demographic hardest hit by the influenza virus this year.

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