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Supply of flu vaccine dwindles

Jan 14, 2014 11:45 am | Sam Macdonald

Influenza clinics and drug stores across the province were busy last week as Albertans reacted to a flu outbreak, and waited in line for the influenza vaccine. But as of Friday afternoon, it appeared that most of the supply of influenza vaccines had dried up.

As of Jan. 10, the St. Paul Value Drug Mart was completely out of the influenza vaccine.

“We ran out a couple of days ago,” said Cam Needham, a pharmacist at Value Drug Mart. “The health unit had some of it until today, and neither of us are getting anymore. That’s it for the area, we’re not getting any more flu vaccine.”

Needham said Bonnyville Value Drug Mart had a few vaccines left on Friday, “but I suspect if they haven’t run out already, they will in the next couple of days.”

He described the availability of the vaccine in the province as, “hit and miss, depending on where you go. The province is just about out of flu shots. Maybe you can still find them somewhere like in Edmonton, but even there, the supply is drying up pretty quickly.”

According to a press release from Alberta Health Services (AHS), some doses of the influenza vaccine will be “reserved for children who require second doses of the vaccine. Children under the age of nine who are receiving seasonal influenza vaccine for the first time this season require two doses…to be fully protected.”

Additionally, there are some doses of the vaccine that are reserved to address outbreaks in certain health care centers and continuing care facilities.

Needham suggested that if a person hasn’t been able to get the vaccine, that they can still take preventative measures, like washing their hands often, eating well, and getting plenty of rest and sleep.

“If your body is run down, you’re more susceptible to illness.”

In addition to Needham’s recommendations, AHS recommends preventative measures as well that include, covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing.

“If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze into your arm, not into your hands,” the press release advises. Additionally, AHS is recommending Albertans who are sick stay home to reduce the spread of the illness.

“If you have symptoms of illness, including fever, cough, diarrhea, and/or vomiting, stay home from work, school, daycare, or any social function. Please also refrain from visiting family, friends, or loved ones in hospitals, care facilities, or seniors lodges, until you have fully recovered,” says the release.

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