Susan Jarvis held the door for fellow seniors at Nanaimo’s BC Seniors and Pensioners Hall Tuesday as they went through COVID-19 screening.
Hand sanitizer, masks and temperature checks are now all required to enter and soon influenza vaccines will be added to that list.
“I can’t be here if I’m not protected, you know,” said Susan Jarvis, president of BC Seniors and Pensioners.
The seniors‘ board decided Tuesday that anyone entering the centre will have to have proof of a flu shot, once it’s available, to be allowed in.
“I know we have members that are not going to like this but we have to protect everyone else don’t we,” said Jarvis.
“We’re in a totally different world and we got to try to do what we can do,” said Judy Sour.
“The decision’s made. You either go along with it or you just don’t come,” said Lorraine Burley.
It is the first time that the hall has ever demanded members get flu shots to attend functions, but with influenza symptoms like fever, cough and chills resembling COVID-19 symptoms, it’s hoped the measure will reduce the risk to its already vulnerable members.
“It’s just a scary, scary thing,” said Jarvis.
Island Health officials expect the vaccine to arrive on Vancouver Island next week to increased demand due to COVID-19 and experts are recommending everyone get the flu shot this year.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has ordered 13 million doses this year, up 22 per cent to account for increased demand.
Nanaimo pharmacist Anil Ram said people are aready calling and asking for the shot.
“I think it will be really busy,” said Anil Ram of RAM Pharmacy.
“A lot of people are coming and logistics is going to be a real problem because we cannot do it quick in and out.”
Some pharmacies are even considering a drive-thru model to deliver the shots.
“It might be a safer option in some ways if they’re outside,” Ram said.