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Province capable of meeting flu shot demand, says B.C.’s top doctor

It’s an 'important year' for people to protect themselves from influenza, says Henry
Getting a flu shot this fall is more important than ever amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a UBC professor and doctor at the BC Childrens' Hospital. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Despite a high demand in flu shots this fall, B.C.’s top doctor says there should be enough vaccine available for anyone who wants to be immunized.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday that there will be“lots of vaccine available” this fall. Some has already started to arrive in B.C., with more expected over the coming weeks.

She added that the province hasn’t had any delays in getting extra vaccines.

“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 of COVID as well,” Henry said.

She explained that B.C. has been monitoring this year’s flu for several months. And in September, the province announced it had procured two million doses of vaccine.

“We have a process in Canada for global purchase of influenza vaccines, 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,” Henry said.

It’s also an “important year” for people to protect themselves from influenza, as getting vaccinated can help reduce pressure on the healthcare system in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, she 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.”

Henry said the ideal time to get a flu shot is the end of October to early November.

However, certain people should be at the front of the line.

“It is important for those who are most at risk (of COVID-19): health care workers, people who are spending time with people most at risk,” said Henry.  

“Those are the people we would encourage right now…This is the time when we should be differing to our seniors and elders in our community to make sure they’re protected.”

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