British Columbia government buys nearly 2 million doses of flu vaccine to prepare for fall, but vaccine won’t be mandatory


The British Columbia government continues to fight COVID-19 by tackling the flu first.The province on Wednesday announced an enhanced fall flu vaccination campaign with the purchase of 1,965,000 doses of the flu vaccine.

These are 450,000 additional doses in addition to what was already planned.

British Columbia health officials fear the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with a fall flu season, could put overwhelming pressure on the healthcare system.

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“We learned from watching what was going on in the southern hemisphere, New Zealand and Australia, that there was a great demand for the vaccine. And they’ve had a balmy season due to heavy vaccine use. Dr. Bonnie Henry, Health Officer for the Province of British Columbia.

“We know it works well and it’s a way to keep people healthy and reduce those with symptoms that could be mistaken for COVID.”

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But the province will not require the vaccine. Henry says the province does not have mandatory vaccines.

A high-dose influenza vaccine of Fluzone will be available specifically at all long-term and assisted living facilities in the province. The government is committed to hiring up to 5,000 new employees across the LTC system.

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The goal will be to vaccinate all people at high risk of influenza.

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Public health is still trying to distribute the vaccine. The aim will be to focus on public health clinics, doctors’ offices and potentially workplaces as places of access to the vaccine.

Distributing the vaccine to schools will be difficult this year because parents will not be able to be there with their children.

“What we have decided to do is dramatically increase the influenza vaccines we receive. This was supported by the federal government. We believe the demand will be significantly higher, ”said BC Health Minister Adrian Dix.

“We have put ourselves in a position to do more vaccinations and that will have very positive effects on acute care and our health system.

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Anyone over six months of age is eligible for the vaccine.

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The province has allocated approximately $ 784 million to implement the plan with a focus on increasing health capacity.

The plan includes creating a COVID-19 testing capacity for the fall / winter at around 20,000 tests per day to help determine if someone has COVID or the flu.

The goal of public health is to maintain normal routine access to the province’s health care system while managing the ongoing pandemic.

The province will build surge capacity at major hospitals across the province and a phased approach to manage regional increases in demand.

This will include the allocation of COVID-19 beds to 18 COVID-19 sites.

“For the fall / winter, we want to maintain as much as possible normal routine access to health care while responding effectively to the management of COVID-19,” said a presentation from health officials.

“British Columbia’s health care system has [the] adequate physical capacity to meet demand, knowing that we can successfully implement more extreme measures related to surgeries or delayed admissions if necessary.

The hiring of 500 new contact tracers had already been announced by BC Premier John Horgan, Dix and Henry.

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