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syringe270The overwhelming community support to the public health message for all of us to receive the flu vaccinations continues to be a remarkable success. However, this increasing demand has led to intermittent gaps in the supply.

The Ministry of Health advises that there may be times when the influenza vaccine is temporarily unavailable due to the unprecedented demand. Ordering restrictions are in place to ensure that all locations have access to the influenza vaccine.

At this time, influenza vaccine doses will not be available in all locations across the province. Supplies are being replenished on an ongoing basis. Please check with your local pharmacy or health care provider for local availability.

Of note, there are two separate distribution systems for the flu vaccine:

The first one is to pharmacies directly from the Ministry of Health/national supplier. Local health units have no authority to distribute to pharmacies. The role of public health in supporting this system is by reviewing fridge temperature logs and investigate cold chain incidents. The distribution of flu vaccines to pharmacies is not the responsibility of public health.

The second one is through public health to hospitals, primary care, long term care, and other health care providers. The supplies of vaccine through this system have been steady, and continue to come in and be distributed to health care providers and others as they arrive.

Initial shipments of flu vaccine were earmarked for those at high-risk, including young children, older adults, and residents of long-term care and retirement homes. A significant proportion of those populations have been successfully vaccinated.

The two pillars of this success have been the work of our pharmacy partners, and the proactive collaboration between public health and some of the family health teams. For example, the Peninsula Family Health Team worked closely with Public Health to ensure that their request of 1,000 doses for their eight community immunization clinics were received on time to help immunize the residents of the Bruce Peninsula.

We encourage all health care providers in Grey and Bruce to help in handling the load and contributing to this success,” said the Grey-Bruce Health Unit.