Metro Vancouver hospitals urge visitors to wear masks if they do not have flu vaccine



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With the flu season in full swing, authorities at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) are urging anyone who has not taken the flu vaccine and is visiting any of its facilities to wear a mask while doing so.

The policy, they explain, is part of the province's strategy to prevent the spread of influenza and protect already vulnerable patients from a life-threatening infection.

"The flu can be devastating to our patients because many have chronic health problems, including weakened immune systems and are more susceptible to serious illness," says VCH's director of medical health Dr. Meena Dawar.

People who have not had a flu vaccine can get a surgical mask at a nursing station or at an outpatient clinic. Doctors, staff, students and volunteers also need to be immunized or wear a mask while working during the flu season.

The VCH said the policy is applicable to all areas of treatment of patients in HCV hospitals, nursing homes, community health centers and other health facilities until the end of the season, which is usually the end of March 2019.

Influenza vaccines for visitors are free and can be obtained from family doctors, clinics or pharmacies. The ImmunizeBC site lists all the clinics in the province.

People who have not had a flu vaccine can get a surgical mask at a nursing station or at an outpatient clinic. Doctors, staff, students and volunteers also need to be immunized or wear a mask while working during the flu season.

Still, "the best way to protect your loved ones at the hospital is to get a flu shot, even if you are normally a healthy individual," Dawar said. "The shot will not only protect you from contracting the flu but also the people around you."

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Eric Zimmer

Staff Writer on Daily Hive.


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