Pharmacies will play a key role in providing flu shots this year, and anyone getting a flu shot can expect to see a few changes when it comes to how to get one. (Photo credit: Black Press files)

Pharmacies will play a key role in providing flu shots this year, and anyone getting a flu shot can expect to see a few changes when it comes to how to get one. (Photo credit: Black Press files)

Getting a flu shot will look different during pandemic

Pharmacies expect to be busy as health authorities cancel flu shot clinics

Interior Health has announced that it will not be holding flu shot clinics this year, due to precautions around COVID-19, but is urging people to get vaccinated against the flu this fall, and working with community partners such as pharmacies to ensure that anyone who wants a flu shot can get one.

However, getting your flu shot at a community pharmacy this year will be different from past years, when many people were able to walk in and get vaccinated whenever it was convenient. More safety measures, pre-screening, and appointment bookings are planned this year, as protection against COVID-19.

The additional precautions mean British Columbians who are planning to get their flu shot from pharmacies this fall should expect a different experience, including the requirement at many pharmacies that you book an appointment for a flu shot well in advance, rather than just drop in.

“With COVID-19, there’s an expectation that B.C. pharmacists will deliver more shots because of the increase in demand,” says Geraldine Vance, CEO of the BC Pharmacy Association. “Pharmacists will be putting in more time and resources to keep patients and themselves safe during COVID-19.”

In the past, many pharmacies have offered walk-in service or posted hours for special flu shot clinics at set times. This year, patients should expect to book an appointment or call their pharmacist first before coming in, and might be screened for symptoms of COVID-19.

Jon Wiesendahl, pharmacist at Ashcroft I.D.A. Pharmacy, says they are still working out what this year’s flu shots will look like. The pharmacy expects to have at least one flu shot clinic, and appointments will probably be necessary at other times.

He adds that the vaccine is expected to be available in the first week or two of October.

Many British Columbians may be anxious to get their flu shots as soon as possible, but pharmacists are asking for patience as they prepare their pharmacies to keep people safe. The exact timelines for distribution of the flu vaccine are determined by the provincial government, which also decides on the allotment of the vaccine to individual pharmacies.

With heightened awareness of respiratory illnesses because of COVID-19, and two million doses of publicly-funded flu vaccines available in B.C. this year, pharmacists expect there to be a higher demand for flu shots this fall.

“COVID-19 has us all doing a lot of things differently. That may include thinking about getting your first flu shot,” says pharmacist Lisa Le. “If you’ve never had a flu shot before, now is the time to get immunized. Not only will you protect yourself, you will also protect the loved ones around you.”

Anyone wanting to get a flu shot this year is advised to get one as early as possible, as it can take up to two weeks for the vaccine to take effect.

To see where flu shots are being offered near you, go to The site will be updated as information is received.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

flu season

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Aerial view of a wildfire at 16 Mile, 11 kilometres northwest of Cache Creek, that started on the afternoon of June 15. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire at 16 Mile now being held

Wildfire started on the afternoon of June 15 at 16 Mile, east of Highway 97

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Most Read