Pharmacies report a surge in demand for flu pictures

An area pharmacy is reporting hovering demand for flu pictures, which well being authorities have referred to as particularly necessary this 12 months.

THUNDER BAY – An area pharmacy is reporting unusually excessive demand for flu pictures, which well being authorities say is very necessary this 12 months as Ontario faces a resurgence of influenza that, together with different viruses, is threatening hospital capability.

Greg Tinsley, scientific coordinator with Janzen’s Pharmacy, on Friday stated there was a dramatic spike in residents in search of the injection.

“We’re mainly doing at the very least 50 to 60 p.c of our anticipated annual flu pictures simply within the early clearance interval” earlier than pictures open to the general public on Nov. 1, he reported.

Janzen’s typically administers between 2,000 to three,000 doses a 12 months, and generally as many as 5,000, by its pharmacies and at assisted dwelling amenities akin to long-term care properties.

“We’ll in all probability go greater than that, if not exceed it” by the top of the flu season, Tinsley stated, calling that an encouraging signal.

Flu pictures can be found by native pharmacies, main care suppliers and are provided together with the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine on the Thunder Bay District Well being Unit’s CLE vaccine clinic.

Tinsley referred to as vaccination “”crucial”” this 12 months to keep away from overburdening the hospital system, which he stated is severely strained.

“Ensuring that individuals who will be vaccinated are vaccinated will hopefully unencumber some sources, unencumber some hospital beds that must be given to somebody with extreme influenza.”

He stated Flu Watch, the federal authorities’s influenza surveillance program, tracks the rise in flu-related hospitalizations. Many hospitals in Ontario have reported an unprecedented inflow of youngsters from the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Native well being authorities say the flu arrived within the area earlier this 12 months, with the Thunder Bay Regional Well being Sciences Heart just lately reporting a spike in admissions for respiratory diseases together with flu, RSV and COVID-19.

Dr. Janet DeMille, Thunder Bay’s medical officer of well being, expressed critical considerations this week about youngsters’s well being and hospital capability.

The well being unit doesn’t have entry to complete information on native flu vaccine uptake, DeMille stated, though it offers vaccines for hospitals and different well being care settings within the county, and offers injections at its COVID-19 clinic.

“We do not give it to pharmacies, and they’re an enormous channel for vaccine distribution, so we don’t know how a lot they may present,” he stated.

“In fact, it is nice to see good flu vaccine uptake this 12 months,” he added.

Tinsley reviews Janzen nonetheless has a remaining provide of two vaccines focused at seniors, a high-dose quadrivalent vaccine and an extra trivalent vaccine.

“There’s a disadvantage when it comes to excessive doses [vaccine] — the province has introduced that they’ve mainly run out of their allotted provide, so no matter anyone has at this level is what they’re getting this 12 months,” he stated.

Tinsley expects pharmacies to expire of high-dose vaccine inside weeks.

Provide of the trivalent shot, which Tinsley says is “additionally an excellent vaccine” that gives extra advantages for seniors, is much less restricted.

Tinsley emphasised that each one accessible flu vaccines are efficient, saying “the very best flu vaccine is the primary one you will get.”

He additionally acknowledged that these with egg allergic reactions can safely entry the flu vaccine.

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