Toronto pharmacies face high demand for flu shots amid second wave of COVID-19

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The flu shot is now available across the province, and pharmacies are facing a huge demand for the vaccine as Ontario faces a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and enters flu season.

In photos provided to CP24, people could be seen lining up to get their flu shots at Shoppers Drug Mart stores in Toronto on Saturday morning.

There are reports that some pharmacies in the Greater Toronto Area are experiencing vaccine shortages.

Loblaws, which operates Shoppers Drug Mart, said it was working diligently to make the vaccine accessible to all Canadians.

“We continue to restock regularly and recommend that patients visit shoppersdrugmart.ca/flu to find out where vaccines are available and sign up to receive notification when they are available at a pharmacy near them,” the company said in a press release to CP24.

“We have a strong supply chain system, but the actual vaccine supply is managed by the Department of Health and we expect there will be adequate availability throughout the season.”

Many health officials are urging everyone to get their flu shot this year to keep the health care system from getting bogged down with flu and COVID-19 patients.

“People often think it’s just a sniffle or a cold, but it’s not,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch told CTV News Toronto last month. “It can be a very, very serious infection, especially in the elderly, in young children, and in people with underlying health conditions.”

Last month, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the government was spending $ 70 million to order more than five million doses of the flu vaccine.

The order represents a 16 percent increase from the 4.4 million doses ordered last year.

Ford said this year’s immunization program will be “the largest and most comprehensive in Canadian history.”

He also said the program aimed to reduce the number of influenza-related hospitalizations in Ontario to free up more capacity for potential COVID-19 patients. Last year, hospitals across the province treated 5,719 flu patients.

“Never before have flu shots been so critical,” Ford said at a press conference last month. “Someone’s got a runny nose or maybe your kids have a runny nose and right now it’s going to delay the system again. It’s just better if we get the flu shot.

The province recorded 809 new cases of COVID-19 and seven more deaths on Saturday.

According to provincial health officials, there are currently 213 patients in hospitals with the virus. Forty-eight patients are currently in intensive care and 29 of these patients are breathing using a ventilator.

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