Huge demand for flu shots causing long waits in Victoria
VICTORIA -- Bill Rankine says the phone has been ringing off the hook at his IDA Pharmacy in Victoria, as hundreds of people are calling, desperate to get a flu shot.
“It’s been an extraordinarily busy,” says Rankine. “We’re getting calls every 10, 15 minutes, people looking for a flu vaccine.”
The pharmacy started giving out flu shots on Oct. 5, and already it’s gone through the 100 doses it was provided. Currently, the waitlist to get a shot there is well over 150 people long.
Down the block, at the Fort Royal Pharmacy, it’s the same story. Fort Royal also ran out of the flu shot after massive demand.
Pharmacist Amanda Brus is hoping the pharmacy gets more supply by the end of the month.
“It’s been crazy this year,” she says. “We ran out very quickly.”
Several pharmacies in Greater Victoria that CTV News spoke with have run out of flu shots and are hoping for additional supplies in the coming weeks.
The demand has been driven by health officials urging folks to get the shots so that the health-care system doesn’t get overwhelmed by a large flu outbreak along with the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday, B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry urged calm, saying there’d be enough flu shots for everyone. She said more flu-shot supply was expected over the next few weeks.
“The vaccine is coming,” Henry said. “We know we have lots of it and it’s being distributed around the province, so make that appointment. Call your family physician, if you have one. Call the clinic.”
Henry said the best time to get the shot is actually the end of October or early November, because that provides the best coverage for the entire flu season, which is expected to begin in earnest in the next couple weeks.