The first shipment of flu shots has arrived in Nova Scotia, prompting the province’s chief medical officer of health to urge as many people as possible to get vaccinated.
But Dr. Robert Strang also called on Nova Scotians to be patient Wednesday as pharmacies and doctors offices deal with the increased demand for flu shots amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s important that we have as many Nova Scotians as possible get the flu vaccine this fall,” Strang told reporters.
“We need to minimize the chance of both COVID and influenza spreading at the same time and having a significant impact on our health-care system.”
Strang said flu shots have been distributed to doctors, primary-care nurses and pharmacists. The flu shot is free to Nova Scotians.
He added there is usually a rush when the first round of flu shots arrive, but any time over the next eight weeks is a good time to get vaccinated in preparation for flu season.
“We’re asking people to be patient,” he said.
Health officials have stressed the importance of getting a flu vaccine this year, while many pharmacies have moved to appointment-only systems to reduce the number of people waiting in stores.
Already, pharmacists in the province say they’ve seen more interest in the flu vaccine this year.
“We’ve got lots of demand,” said Robin Ogilvie, pharmacy manager of Guardian Rockingham Pharmacy in Halifax.
“We have some clinic times that are specifically booked with additional staff to manage the demand.”
Ogilvie said his pharmacy received “most of what they had requested” on Tuesday. He said they ordered 25 per cent more than what was needed last year.
Erica Everett, pharmacy manager at the Pharmasave North End, said people began calling to ask about their flu shots in September.
“I had to tell them at the time, ‘I don’t even know when I’m getting them yet, call me back in October,'” she said.
“It’s different every year and until Public Health tells you, you just don’t know. But there’s definitely an increased demand this year.”
Everett said she planned to pick up her store’s vaccines Wednesday.
“You put in your order, you cross your fingers, maybe knock on some wood and you see what you get,” Everett said, adding she only booked a few days for flu shot appointments this week because it was unclear how many doses would be available.
“I think it’s great that so many people are interested in the flu shot.”
While the influenza vaccine does not protect against COVID-19, health experts say an increase in those getting the flu shot will help ease the strain on the health-care system, as well as limit the number of people exhibiting COVID-like symptoms and requiring tests.
The province said last month it had ordered five per cent more doses of the flu vaccine this year and can request more if needed.
News Releases | COVID-19 Bulletin #232 – news.gov.mb.ca
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October 25, 2020 – Update on COVID-19 from Dr. Theresa Tam – Net Newsledger
OTTAWA – In lieu of an in-person update to the media, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, issued the following statement today:
“As the resurgence of COVID-19 activity continues in Canada, we are tracking a range of epidemiological indicators to monitor where the disease is most active, where it is spreading and how it is impacting the health of Canadians and public health, laboratory and healthcare capacity. The following is the latest summary on national numbers and trends, and the actions we all need to be taking to maintain COVID-19 at manageable levels across the country.
Since the first cases were reported in March 2020, there have been 211,732 cases of COVID-19, including 9,888 deaths reported in Canada; these cumulative numbers tell us about the overall burden of COVID-19 illness to date. Though the cumulative number is high and continues to increase, it is important to remember that the vast majority of Canadians remain susceptible to COVID-19. This is why it is important for everyone to continue with individual precautions that will keep ourselves, our families and our communities safer.
At this time, there are 23,965 active cases across the country. The latest national-level data indicate daily averages of 2,488 new cases (Oct 16-22) and 74,719 people tested, with 3.1% testing positive (Oct 11-17). Outbreaks continue to contribute to COVID-19 spread in Canada. These vary in size from just a few cases to larger clusters occurring in a range of settings including long term care and assisted living facilities, schools, congregate living settings, industrial work settings and large social gatherings. Larger clusters tell us those closed and crowded settings and/or not sufficiently maintaining public health practises, such as physical distancing and mask-wearing, can amplify spread of the virus.
The number of people experiencing severe illness continues to increase. Provincial and territorial data indicate that an average of 1,010 people with COVID-19 were being treated in Canadian hospitals each day during the most recent 7-day period (Oct 16-22), including 209 of whom were being treated in intensive care units. During the same period, there was an average of 23 COVID-19-related deaths reported daily.
As hospitalisations and deaths tend to lag behind increased disease activity by one to several weeks, the concern is that we have yet to see the extent of severe impacts associated with the ongoing increase in COVID-19 disease activity. As well, influenza and respiratory infections typically increase during the Fall and Winter, placing increased demands on hospitals. This is why it is so important for people of all ages to maintain public health practises that keep respiratory infection rates low.
Canada needs a collective effort to sustain the public health response through to the end of the pandemic, while balancing the health, social and economic consequences. We can all do our part by keeping our number of in-person close contacts low and committing to proven effective public health practises; stay home/self-isolate if you have any symptoms, maintain physical distancing, wear a face mask as appropriate, and keep up with hand, cough and surface hygiene. Canadians can also go the extra mile by sharing credible information on COVID-19 risks and prevention practises and measures to reduce COVID-19 in communities and by downloading the COVID Alert app to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
Read my backgrounder to access more COVID-19 Information and Resources on ways to reduce the risks and protect yourself and others.”
B.C. flu vaccine: Here's what you need to know – Vancouver Sun
Article content continued
Getting a flu shot this year is more important than ever due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19. Receiving the flu vaccine can protect you and others around you from the spread of influenza.
Who should get a flu shot?
Health officials recommend that everyone six months of age and older should get a yearly vaccination, particularly if you or someone in close contact with you is considered high-risk, such as children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with medical conditions.
Those who work in health care or who spend time in care homes or health-care settings should also get the vaccine.
Is the flu shot free or will I have to pay?
The flu shot is publicly funded and free for those who are eligible. The full list of eligible individuals is available online here but includes:
• Anyone at high risk of serious illness such as children, pregnant women, seniors over the age of 65, residents in care homes, etc.
• People able to transmit or spread influenza to those who are high risk such as household contacts of high-risk individuals or care workers.
• Essential workers such as police officers, firefighters, paramedics and corrections workers.
To find out if you are eligible, talk to your healthcare provider to call HealthLink B.C. at 811.
If you are not eligible for a free vaccine, it can be purchased at most pharmacies and travel clinics. Some employers also provide the vaccine free to employees and may set up a flu clinic.
Where can I get the flu shot?
The free flu vaccine is available from public-health clinics, some doctors’ offices and most pharmacies.
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