Some confusion as B.C. influenza vaccine program rolls out

Some confusion as B.C. influenza vaccine program rolls out

It’s the first day you can roll up your sleeve for the influenza vaccine in B.C. and pharmacists say the demand is high.

While the Shoppers Drug Mart on Fort Street had 300 people through its doors Tuesday for vaccines, it turns out that getting an appointment is proving a bit confusing for some.

“It’s very confusing and it’s all new for all of us so it’s an online booking tool and it’s all done through the health authority,” said Kim Myers, an Associate Pharmacist with Shoppers Drug Mart.

Unlike last year when you booked directly through your local pharmacy, this year you’re urged to wait for an invite to book through the Get Vaccinated system — the same system that alerts you to book your COVID-19 vaccinations.

“It’s been absolutely crazy in terms of the phone calls that we’ve received,” said Hans Bawa, owner of Fort Royal Pharmacies.

“I think today is the first day and we’re all trying to get a handle on how the system works.”

Some pharmacies are taking walk-ins while others are offering the flu shot to anyone already coming in for a COVID-19 booster shot.

“If people have their COVID-19 booster booked at our pharmacy and they come in and they want a flu vaccine we also give them the flu vaccine,” said Bawa.

Pharmacists say while there’s plenty of supply to go around, they’re just urging people to be patient as the invites are sent out.

“The weather’s still good, flu season lasts for a few months so as long we’re getting it up until mid-November is a good time to get it,” said Myers.

Health officials are anticipating an earlier and more severe flu season than has been experienced since the start of the pandemic.

READ MORE: B.C. expecting surge in hospitalizations due to increased COVID-19, flu infections

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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