Young children in British Columbia can make their own Halloween schedule this year.
Health Canada says it will begin offering immunization clinics for children 2 to 17 on Tuesday, March 6 in 14 regional Health Centres throughout the province. Immunization programs are also open to 2 to 17 year olds in Ontario and Prince Edward Island. A program aimed at 18 to 64 year olds will start on March 20.
The spring immunization season runs between April and October, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Canadian hospitals reported that there were 1,104 deaths from severe influenza-related complications in 2015. That was a slight increase from 2014, according to CII.
Tens of thousands of people who had the influenza A virus died as a result of complications in recent years, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Patricia Daly has said. A child died in B.C. on Saturday, 2018, after suffering from flu complications.
The vaccine to protect against the flu is easy to administer and provides protection against flu strains most likely to be circulating in the coming months. The Canadian Foundation for Vaccination and Immunization said half of the viruses used in the 2017/18 vaccine have mutated since it was developed. Vaccinations against the flu are less effective if the virus has changed, according to public health.
The Health Council of Canada recommends that all children get vaccinated at 2 years of age. Children who haven’t been vaccinated face a high risk of infection, according to the Commonwealth Foundation.
Children aged 1 to 6 years should get the most protection with the vaccine from vaccinations starting when they are 11 to 12 months old, according to a report from the Wellness Health Foundation.
There is a shortage of the vaccine, according to a report from Medicotix.net. People can also buy vaccines at a local pharmacy. Vaccines also can be purchased from independent health-care organizations. The prices range from about $45.80 to $99.82, depending on the type of vaccine and how long a child needs to be immunized.
The Globe and Mail reported that a shipment of the vaccine was held up at the U.S. border between Canada and the United States earlier this month. The deliveries were soon returned, the newspaper reported.
More funding was announced in the new federal budget to help purchase more vaccine. The government said it would spend an additional $22 million over five years to purchase vaccines. Vaccine contracts will not be subject to long-term bargaining, the Globe and Mail reported.