A Fort St. James registered nurse has reshared her son’s story of getting the flu shot in the hopes of inspiring and educating other children and families.
Every year about 1,400 British Columbians die from influenza or complications of influenza, said Northern Health (NH).
In a series of photos shared on social media, Emma Leon captured the process from start to finish last year at Kwah Hall.
Simon, 6, entered the building in Fort St. James wearing a face mask and was asked a few questions before taking a seat to patiently wait for a nurse to bring him to a station.
After his arm was cleaned, the nurse counted to three, and just like that, Simon was then able to pick a prize for getting immunized before taking another seat to wait 15 minutes to make sure he had no side effects.
“He really likes doing it knowing that he can help other kids as well,” Leon said, noting Simon has benefited from social stories.
“I originally just did it for him and my two other children and then for my nieces and nephews. Then I thought to share it more widely so that other families would maybe have a bit more success in that type of situation.”
According to NH, the influenza vaccine is the best protection from getting and transmitting influenza that typically peaks from November to April.
Leon noted how the vaccine not only protects her children from becoming sick but vulnerable individuals such as seniors or those with a weakened immune system they may be in contact with.
“Young healthy kids aren’t at a huge risk if they were to get influenza, but if they pass it on to people who are more vulnerable, that would be a big concern for the kids,” she said.
Influenza flu clinics are now available throughout the week in Vanderhoof and Fort St. James.
Leon plans to vaccinate all her children under 12 again this year against influenza and said she would consider making social stories when the COVID-19 vaccine is available.
“He really likes being a community health champion, and he thinks that it’s very important to protect other people and to help them understand the benefits of getting the vaccine,” Leon said of her son, Simon.
Most reaction to his social story of getting the flu shot has been positive, she added.
“They [adults] said it helped their kids, and even themselves to know this is the setup and what they can expect. It just decreased people’s overall anxiety.”