Karla Karcioglu, Roving Editor Ω
On Oct. 24, the B.C. government upheld a ruling that all B.C. health care workers must either receive a flu shot or wear a mask during flu season, despite objections from the health care workers union. The ruling was upheld because the jobs of health care workers put them in direct contact with people who may be high-risk of serious illness caused by the flu.
As such, TRU health services got some help from the Wal-Mart pharmacy to provide TRU staff and students with flu vaccinations on campus for five days between Oct. 22 and Nov. 1.
In total, 410 staff and students received the flu shot. The majority of students on campus are not in high-risk groups, for which flu shots are recommended and free.
The vaccinations are brought to campus for the convenience of staff and students. Those not eligible for a free vaccination paid $20.
Health and safety office assistant Lee-Gaye Hicketts said approximately the same number of vaccines are administered each year at TRU.
Hicketts appreciates the help of the Wal-Mart pharmacists. Without them, they wouldn’t have time to administer the vaccinations themselves.
Specific days were scheduled to vaccinate those in various programs and facilities on campus that are considered high-risk, including the day care, nursing students, early childhood education students and respiratory therapy students.
Another high-risk group is those living in group facilities, such as on-campus housing, where germs easily spread through close contact.
Though Immunize BC’s website states that vaccinations are the best method to avoid the flu, it also recommends masks for students. The website reads “masks in conjunction with hand hygiene has been shown to have reduced rates of influenza like illness in residents of college dormitories and households.”
In 2011, a report from the B.C. and Quebec Lung Associations showed that B.C. has an influenza vaccination rate of 53 per cent, the highest in Canada. B.C. also had the second-lowest flu rate, at 10 per cent, just two per cent higher than Alberta.