Interior Health hosting mass clinics for flu shots

Interior Health says it's getting a larger supply of flu shot vaccines this year, compared to last.

Immunization program manager Pamela de Bruin says this year's stock increased nearly 15%.

"The Ministry of Health purchases vaccine for the whole province, and Interior Health's order this year was 240,000 doses. Compared to what we received last year, that's 30,000 more doses," she said.

But there's a few logistical challenges - first, even if it could get them all at once, IH doesn't have room to store all of those flu shots.

Second, they need to be kept cold at all times - between 2 and 8 degrees - including during the delivery.

de Bruin says she knows some pharmacies and clinics are out of supply, but that with more than 800 regional providers, that's bound to temporarily happen.

"There are definitely some providers that have gone through their initial allotment already - we know that. And we will endeavour now to, once a mass clinic is over in any community, that amount of product that we had designated, if there's any excess, we'll be pushing it back out into the community. So we'll start doing that (this) week," she said.

"We base what we provide on the amount of doses that providers gave last year. We also increased it by 20% this year, because we know the demand has been increasing every year, and so we wanted to be able to give them that extra amount of product, so they could get it to the public."

Earlier this week, IH began hosting mass clinics throughout the region.

There's plenty scheduled in the Kelowna area over the next couple months, including one at Rutland Centennial Hall on the 16th, and another at the Ukranian Catholic Church (Gordon Drive at Coronation) on the 23rd.