Ontario pediatricians warn of flu shot 'crisis' to meet anticipated demand

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A group representing more than 1,400 Ontario pediatricians is warning of ``an imminent crisis'' in rolling out the flu shot this season.

An online petition by members of the Ontario Medical Association says there's already ``unprecedented strong interest amongst parents for the influenza vaccine.''

At the same time, they say it will be impossible for clinics to meet demand while adhering to pandemic precautions, including the need to sanitize between appointments and ensure social distancing.

They suggest several measures, including that the province set up vaccination centres where public health nurses, community pediatricians and volunteer doctors can inoculate large numbers of people.

Dr. Dan Flanders, one of the physician members of the working group behind the petition, suggests this effort be incorporated into the province's COVID-19 testing centres, where a separate area could be dedicated to the flu shot.

Flanders says the flu shot is especially crucial for children aged 0 to 2 years old, who are considered a higher-risk group, and children younger than four who cannot get the shot from the pharmacy.