Flu shots are in high demand across Vancouver Island this fall but many Greater Victoria providers are running low, or are completely out of vaccine.
As of Nov. 12, Rexall, Shoppers Drug Mart, Real Canadian Superstore and the Wholesale Club in Victoria West are all waiting on shipments. Island Health has ordered 60,000 more doses than it did the previous flu season.
“We have distributed more vaccine than ever before to our community providers and continue to receive orders from those providers for more vaccine,” the health authority told Black Press Media. “To date, we have distributed more than 214,000 doses to community providers, which is an additional 17,000 compared to last year. We have also provided more than 15,600 doses at Island Health public flu clinics.”
In mid-October Island Health requested more doses from the BC Centre for Disease Control, and those shipments are expected to begin arriving in late November through until the end of December.
“We encourage people to check back with their primary care provider or pharmacist in late November and December if they are unable to book an appointment at this time. We also ask that people be patient and calm.”
The situation on Vancouver Island is symptomatic of a larger demand across the country. The Public Health Agency of Canada – which makes vaccine orders on behalf of provinces – increased its order by nearly 25 per cent this year.
B.C. provincial health officer Bonnie Henry has been encouraging British Columbians to get their flu immunization to help protect vulnerable populations, especially as the COVID-19 health crisis continues.
With files from the Canadian Press.