If you haven’t had  a flu shot yet, you’ll need to wear a mask when visiting health care facilities beginning today (Dec 1st).

It’s part of the government’s Influenza Control Program and usually remains in place until the end of March.

The shot-or-mask policy also applies to staff at health care facilities.

There haven’t been any flu outbreaks on Vancouver Island, but Mid-Island Medical Health Officer Dr. Paul Hasselback says it’s only a matter of time.

“We will see influenza outbreaks occurring sometime in the upcoming months,” he says. “The best time to get vaccinated is before the virus is here. Once the virus is in circulation it may be too late.”

The Ministry of Health says approximately 3,500 people die from the flu and its complications every year in Canada.