Flu vaccines may be delayed; immunizations to proceed as usual
(CTV News: File Photo)
With the start of flu season just over a month away, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) says its flu vaccines could be delayed this year.
While a delay is likely, the centre told CTV News that it does not expect delivery timing to significantly affect the island's immunization program.
"The timing of the delivery of the flu vaccine and the quantity of vaccine available can and does vary from year to year due to a variety of factors related to the manufacturing, testing and regulatory processes," said Jane Campbell from the Provincial Health Services Authority.
"We are aware that the first delivery of this year’s vaccine, scheduled for September, will be delayed, but we will receive an additional quantity of the vaccine in October, which will compensate for this delay."
According to the BCCDC, people in high-priority populations, like health care workers, people in long-term care facilities and people at high risk due to underlying medical conditions, should expect to receive vaccines at their usual times.
Meanwhile, larger public clinics that offer flu vaccines will likely begin administering flu shots in early November, a timing that is in line with previous years according to the health authority.
A shortage of quadrivalent vaccines, which protect against four different types of the flu, will impact B.C., however. The vaccine, which is normally given to children and adolescents in the province, will be replaced by a supply of trivalent vaccine, which protects against three types of flu.
According to the BCCDC, quadrivalent and trivalent vaccines offer "a similar level of protection," so impact to public health should be minimal.
"In summary, despite some minor delays and shortfalls, which are normal and expected, we anticipate this year will be similar to most years in terms of our total quantities of vaccine and the timing of distribution," said Campbell.