Nova Scotia pharmacists see spike in demand for flu vaccine
A nurse working for Vancouver Island Vaccine loads a syringe with flu vaccine for injection at the Victoria Clipper Terminal in Victoria on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2004. (The Canada Press/Chuck Stoody)
HALIFAX -- The flu vaccine is now available in Nova Scotia and it seems people aren’t wasting any time getting vaccinated.
"I got a flu shot, yes. I think everybody should get one as soon as they can,” said John Yogis.
"I've been back to work since July and been around a lot of people so, I just felt it was the right thing to do, you know, to keep safe my co-workers and my family and friends,” said Barbara Gero.
"I got it the first day,” said Doug Barton. “I have health problems so I've gotten the flu vaccine practically every year for probably the past 10 years and, I'm always usually the first in line because I just don't want to take the chance of anything happening."
The Nova Scotia government says it has ordered 493,750 doses of the flu shot this year and is encouraging all residents over six months old to get a flu shot.
The seasonal influenza vaccine is now available from most pharmacies, family doctors, family practice nurses, nurse practitioners and clinics in the province.
Health officials say it can take up to two weeks for the vaccine to provide protection. The vaccines have been available for less than two weeks, but pharmacists like Curtis Chafe say there’s already a lot of interest.
"We're actually trending probably about [300 per cent] to 400 per cent over last year,” said Chafe.
Last year, Chafe says his pharmacy on Fenwick Street in Halifax administered about 800 flu shots. He believes they have already done the same number of flu shots in a week-and-a-half this year.
"This year, there definitely is a huge interest in vaccines in general. I think everyone's waiting for a COVID vaccine, which will probably be available sometime early next year, we're hoping,” said Chafe. “But, in the meantime, the flu vaccine is something that's been proven effective. It's still a serious illness and the last thing you want is to have people getting sick with influenza, which is a completely preventable disease and then possibly causing more issues in the health-care system.”
So far, Chafe says there are no issues with the supply of the flu vaccine.
"Right now, public health has been filling orders and we haven't run out,” he said.
“It's definitely wise to call your pharmacy just to make sure because sometimes you may end up having that little in between, in between filling your last order and getting your next one, but definitely get out and get vaccinated as soon as you can. That's the best way to protect yourself against the flu."