VICTORIA – Vancouver Island is experiencing a shortage of influenza vaccines as the winter flu season approaches.
Marilynn Boyce owns the Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacy on Fort Street in Victoria. She said she's been turning away between 150 and 200 customers daily, who've been hoping to get the flu shot.
"We received our last batch about three weeks ago, when I got literally a third of what I'd requested," Boyce said. "That was supposed to be my first two-week supply. It lasted five days."
Boyce said she doesn’t know when she will get her next stock of the vaccine.
"We actually don't know when we're going to get it," she said. "We're hoping imminently. I don't know what's causing the backlog."
Dr. Dee Hoyano, of Island Health, said the manufacturer was delayed in sending out the first round of flu shots and also didn’t send out as much as was requested.
"We know there's been a delay in the supply from the vaccine manufacturer," Hoyano said. "That is just getting resolved now."
Hoyano said people hoping to get a flu shot should check with their doctors, health clinics or pharmacists next week. She added that the usual amount of the flu shot will be available by mid-November.
Although she acknowledges that reports of influenza have already cropped up in Victoria, Hoyano said its absolutely not too late to get the shot during the coming weeks. Those most at risk of serious illness – including the elderly and very young – are able to get it for free.