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B.C. capable of meeting demand for flu shots, more doses arriving: top doctor

Last Updated Oct 8, 2020 at 6:35 pm PDT

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Summary

Dr. Bonnie Henry said it is important to have the flu vaccine this year even though it won't prevent COVID-19

Demand is high for flu shots during the pandemic and more vaccines will be arriving in B.C. in the coming weeks: Henry

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — With flu vaccines in high demand during the pandemic, B.C.’s top doctor said the province has a plan to safely immunize those who want to be vaccinated.

Getting an appointment for a flu shot is expected to take longer this year, but the Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday there haven’t been any delays getting extra vaccines this season.

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“It is an important year for people to protect themselves from influenza,” Henry said. “This vaccine doesn’t protect you from COVID, but it does make sure that you’re not going to get infected with influenza and it goes a long way to help that.”

She said health officials have been monitoring the concern of the flu season for months.

“We have a process in Canada for global purchase of influenza vaccines,” she said, “and when we saw what was happening in the southern hemisphere, where their influenza season started in April and May, we ordered extra vaccine this year.”

Heading into the fall, the province ordered more than two million doses of flu vaccines in order to lessen the strain on the health-care system that will be dealing with the pandemic on top of influenza.

Henry noted flu vaccines have already started to arrive, with more coming in the next few weeks. She said the ideal time to be immunized is the end of October and in early November.

“We have a plan to make sure that we can safely get a vaccine to as many people as we possibly can this year, and to do it in a way that makes sure we’re not putting people at risk for COVID as well.”

In the meantime, Henry said it is important to immunize people who are at risk first, including the health-care workers who are in close contact with them.


“This is a time when we should be deferring to our seniors and elders in the community to make sure they’re protected as well.”

The flu shot has already been rolled out in some places around B.C. and will be widely available in the Lower Mainland next week.