(File photo)

Flu shot temporarily unavailable in Kelowna, more en route next week: pharmacies

Why you might not be able to get a flu shot this week

If you tried to get a flu shot this week at your local pharmacist, you may have been left disappointed.

The flu season typically begins around mid-November, and flu shots are usually available by the last week of October in the Okanagan, however, many Kelowna pharmacies have not yet received the vaccine or already ran out, forcing people to wait for the next allotment of flu shots.

“There is no shortage of vaccine,” said a statement from Interior Health (IH).

“It’s currently in transit and will be coming to community providers in the next week or two as IH supplied vaccines to the community physicians and pharmacies early this season.”

READ MORE: Delayed flu vaccine, change in scheduled clinics, puts pressure on Salmon Arm pharmacies

The vaccine relay starts with Health Canada, which receives orders from the BC Centre for Disease Control, who then distributes it to IH for local distribution to physicians and pharmacies.

In a statement from the Public Health Agency of Canada, the delay of the vaccine was caused by additional time needed to determine the best virus components to this year’s H3N2 influenza strain, which saw rapid infection increases in some countries.

Earlier this week in Salmon Arm, the temporary shortage of vaccines was felt in local pharmacies.

“We’ve been given an indication it will arrive likely next week sometime, but we don’t know exactly what date,” Askew’s pharmacy manager Darlene Ogilvie said.

READ MORE: Large pig hit by vehicle on Highway 97 in Kelowna

While the supply has faltered, the demand for the vaccine has not; most Shoppers Drug Marts across Kelowna report that many customers have come in for their shots, only to be turned away until the shot becomes available.

Only one of 11 Shoppers pharmacies within West Kelowna, Kelowna and Lake Country still had shots available as of Tuesday afternoon (Rutland location at 301 Highway 33).

There is no fixed date for when the next shipment of the vaccine, but IH states that more of the vaccine should be available in the next week.

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