Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday October 21, 2020
As second wave of coronavirus hits, get your flu shot, health officials advise
Some local pharmacies got flu vaccines for seniors and those with compromised immune systems last week and expect a full shipment of the seasonal shot later this week.
London pharmacists that CBC News spoke to Tuesday said many people were already inquiring about getting their flu shot as case numbers of COVID-19 continue to soar provincially and health authorities warn of a “twin-demic” that could overwhelm the health care system.
“Even if you haven’t ever gotten your flu shot, even if you haven’t gotten it in the last 10 years, this is the year to do it,” said pharmacist Nauman Shaikh, who owns the MedPoint Care pharmacy in CitiPlaza.
The province is rolling out what it’s calling the largest flu vaccine campaign in Ontario history, with more than 5 million flu vaccine doses ordered, 700,000 more than last year, officials said.
“This includes 1.3 million high-dose vaccine doses for Ontario seniors, especially those with pre-existing health conditions,” the province said.
Many of those were shipped to pharmacies last week. Shaikh got 40 doses on Tuesday and they were gone by Thursday.
And although people are calling pharmacies and asking for the flu shot, Shaikh said most pharmacies will get theirs on Thursday and Friday.
“I think there will be enough dosages for everyone, so don’t panic. There will be enough,” he said.
Some pharmacies are asking customers to make appointments for flu shots, because maintaining distance between walk-in customers can be tricky.
Shaikh will be wearing full personal protective gear when he gives the vaccine, and his pharmacy is using an extra room to ensure there is a lot of space.
The province said it is prioritizing early distribution of the flu vaccine for vulnerable populations in long-term care homes, hospitals and retirement homes, and has spent an additional $26.5 million to purchase extra flu vaccine doses if required and made available through the national vaccine bulk procurement program.
Ontario is also launching a public education campaign to encourage getting the flu shot. (CBC)