National flu vaccine shortage causes confusion in Manitoba
Published Monday, November 11, 2019 6:54PM CST
WINNIPEG -- There is confusion around the availability of the flu shot. There was a flu vaccine shortage earlier this fall across Canada and now it appears some pharmacists haven't received their full orders.
Colin Honeybunn is squeamish about getting his flu shot.
"Just been putting off. I keep telling myself I'm going to go in. You sometimes get that sore arm the next day. Don't really love needles either,” he said.
If and when he changes his mind he may have to wait. It's mid-November and there are pharmacies and clinics where the vaccine is no longer in stock. At the Minor Illness and Injury Clinic on Corydon Avenue, one doctor said they didn't expect such a demand. It ordered more, which is coming in about two weeks.
Carey Lai is a member of Pharmacists Manitoba and he's been having to turn people away. Lai tells CTV News pharmacies did a pre-order for vaccines based on their expected need. Because of the national shortage, he said memos were sent out at the beginning of October saying full orders may be fulfilled. Lai ordered 1000, only got 650 and is waiting on his second order of 500.
Manitoba Health said in an email to CTV News it has received 100 per cent of its flu vaccine order and has shipped out more vaccine at this time of the season, than in any previous season. Anywhere that's run out, can put in more orders.
Manitoba Health encourages people to contact providers and pharmacies, to see if vaccine stock is available before visiting. Flu clinics are also taking place across the province over the next few weeks.
Not everywhere is struggling with supply.
Ryan Chan at Exchange District Pharmacy said his order was delayed by several weeks, but he ordered 2,000 and that's what he got. He's taken calls from people asking if he has the vaccine and he has about 1,000 left.
“Just because we do a lot of clinics. We anticipated doing a lot more clinics this year, so we kind of ordered more relative to last year,” said Chan.
Lai said Chan is the first case he’s heard of this season, who received the full requested order.
Colin Honeybunn said people should be able to get the shot when they want.
"You finally amp yourself up. You go somewhere, a walk in clinic, something like that and then you find out that there out,” he said.
Honeybunn said knows the vaccine is important and hopes by the time he's ready to get the shot, it's available.
Last winter, a record 336,000 Manitobans received the flu shot.