B.C. flu vaccine supply runs low

The Ministry of Health is reporting a record number of Health-care workers across the province have vaccinated a record number of British Columbians against this year’s flu.

Nearly 1.4 million British Columbians have rolled up their sleeves to to get the influenza vaccine, even though this year’s flu season is not more severe than past years.

According to the ministry, the vast majority of those impacted by influenza make a complete recovery after seven to 10 days of illness.

The relatively rare, more serious complications of this year’s strain have affected a younger-than-usual segment of the population, likely leading to the vaccine increase.

Despite ordering 1.401 million doses of influenza vaccine, the government reports the unprecedented demand for the vaccine means that there is the likelihood that B.C. will experience temporary gaps in influenza supply and availability.

Provinces and territories across the country are experiencing similar challenges with vaccine supply, and B.C. is continuing to work with the federal government to obtain additional supply of the vaccine.

As a result of these efforts, B.C. is expecting about 5,000 more doses to arrive during the week of Jan. 21 and another 3,000 doses during the week of Jan. 28, and the Province has requested another 13,000 doses.

These vaccines will be available to eligible persons in all regions of the province, based on demand.

Public health officials are recommending that anyone with an underlying health condition that can increase the risk of a serious complication, such as heart or lung disorders, kidney disease, chronic liver disease, diabetes, cancer or a weakened immune system, discuss receiving a prescription for an antiviral drug with their health-care provider.

Should they develop influenza symptoms, they should contact their health-care provider for advice on whether they should fill the prescription.


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