Huge demand as flu vaccine begins arriving at B.C. pharmacies
VANCOUVER -- Health authorities are urging every British Columbian to get a flu shot this fall, and the vaccine is now starting to arrive at pharmacies. But, if you haven’t already booked an appointment, you may find it difficult to get a shot right away.
Victor Chu, the owner of the Pharmasave in Vancouver’s Bentall Centre, says COVID-19 protocols make it difficult to accommodate walk-ins, so his customers have been told to book in advance, and they’re already rushing in to get the first doses of the vaccine that arrived late Wednesday.
“It’s just been non-stop, which is great,” said Chu. “I’m getting people I don’t normally see for flu shots coming in, so the uptake is amazing.”
London Drugs locations are also not accepting drop-ins. The pharmacy is asking customers to book ahead online, but appointments at many locations are already full.
“We are finding it’s booking up very quick,” said London Drugs general manager of pharmacy Chris Chiew.
He suggests customers looking for a flu shot check the company’s website daily – or more often.
“Maybe two or three times throughout the day, go online to see if there are any spots available, and if there is try to book one right away,” Chiew said.
While people who want flu shots may have a hard time getting an appointment for the first week or two, the province expects there will be enough flu vaccine for everyone this fall. Still, the provincial health officer says certain people should be at the front of the line.
“It is important for those most at risk: health care workers, people spending time with people most at risk, to be immunized first. Those are the people we would encourage right now,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry.
“The province did increase their order this year, and they said it frequently: everybody who wants flu shot, we will have enough to get it,” said Chiew. “We just ask that people be patient, be kind like Dr. Bonnie Henry says all the time.”
Chu says he’s had many sleepless nights worrying about whether he’ll get enough vaccine for his customers.
“I’ve got plenty for now, who knows how long that will last?” he said.
He expects the rush will continue.
“If we can avoid getting the flu, then why not?” he said.