Pharmacies cancel flu shot appointments as supplies run out

flu shot

Getting your flu shot may be more of a challenge this year.

The Ontario Pharmacists Association says most pharmacies have run out of doses and it's not clear when they'll get more.

"Demand is outpacing supply," said CEO Justin Bates. "We're seeing a 500 percent increase when compared to this time last year."

He says the wholesaler that distributes the vaccine to pharmacies has run out. It gets its supply from the province.

"I'm encouraging our members...to not book any appointments or schedule clinics unless they have vaccine on hand," Bates says.

They're expecting a new shipment at some point this month but it's not clear exactly when or how many doses are coming.

Bates says pharmacies only receive about 30 percent of the province's stockpile and, "That just isn't enough given the demand that pharmacies are experiencing."

Some pharmacies have been forced to cancel vaccine appointments.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Rexall says, "Rexall has communicated to customers and patients that flu shots have been temporarily paused due to supply issues that are currently being experienced across the province. Vaccine supply is determined and allocated by the provincial Ministry of Health. All efforts are being made by our pharmacy to secure additional dosages promptly. We will post a notice on https://www.rexall.ca/pharmacy/injectionsandvaccinations/flushot and email our Rexall subscribers when vaccines become available."