Vaxed to the max: No sign of vaccine fatigue as N.S. flu shot campaign ramps up
Despite some fears of vaccine fatigue in the region, it would seem Nova Scotian's are anxious to get a flu shot this year.
There are no firm numbers at the moment, but pharmacies are reporting very high demand since the vaccine arrived last week.
There wasn't a lot of flu vaccine left at Greg Richard's pharmacy in north end Halifax Tuesday, but he says he didn't get a particularly big shipment.
Regular customers, like Doug Mullenger, were first in line to get it.
"I believe in the vaccine. I believe in the flu shot and I believe in the shingles shot, and I had the pneumonia shot. I have all the shots," says Mullenger.
Richard says his limited initial shipment didn't go very far.
"I'm definitely seeing a bigger demand. To be honest with you, I wish that I had more vaccine that I could give," says Richard.
It was exactly one week ago the shots started rolling out in some bigger pharmacies and lineups formed almost immediately.
The Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia (PANS) won't have hard numbers for another week, but the woman in charge says no one knew what to expect with the COVID-19 virus still around.
"We were actually questioning whether there would be vaccine fatigue," says PANS CEO Allison Bodnar
"Would people just wrongly assume that their COVID vaccine would be enough?"
According to some pharmacists, that doesn't seem to be the case.
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, reinforced the message at a COVID-19 briefing on Oct. 19.
"If you’re booked for a COVID vaccine with your pharmacy, ask them if you can get your flu shot at the same time," said Strang, during a live COVID-19 presser last week.
Michelle Thompson, Nova Scotia's health minister, says she's not overly concerned about vaccine fatigue.
"I'm hopeful that the positive campaign that we've had around COVID will encourage people to get the influenza vaccine this year - perhaps people who haven't typically gotten that," says Thompson.
Infants, seniors, and immunocompromised individuals are among those being urged to get the shot sooner rather than later, but anyone who already has flu symptoms should get a COVID-19 first.
Despite the vaccines being completely different, some of the messaging is the same and very familiar, such as its needed duration to provide protection.
Flu season traditionally arrives in late December or early January.