More than 268,000 Manitobans have had flu shot so far, says province

More than 268,000 Manitobans have received a flu shot so far this year, according to the province.

A spokesperson for the province’s health department said the numbers were 43 per cent higher than this time last year.

“That number is likely higher as it is too early to get an accurate representation of doses administered because there can be delays with doses being entered into the provincial immunization registry,” the spokesperson said.

“As more doses are inputted over the coming months, the data will become more accurate.”

Over the past several weeks, Manitobans and pharmacists have complained about being able to find a place where the flu shot is being administered, as several places were sold out.

Read more: Manitoba pharmacists complain of low flu vaccine supply, province says there’s no shortage

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Pharmacist Carey Lai ordered a combined 2,000 doses of the regular vaccine and the high dose vaccine for his two pharmacies and said he is quickly running out.

“I’m going to be done all my shots by next week,” Lai said on Nov. 6. “We’ll be all out. All 2,000 doses will be gone.”

While he is seeing the same amount of regular patients who come and get their shot every year, there is a high percentage of people coming in who haven’t had a flu shot before, he added.

“Close to 10 to 15 per cent of the individuals that are coming are first-time flu vaccine takers. … They have never had the flu vaccine in their life,” Lai said.

“On top of that, there’s probably around 20 to 25 per cent … (who) didn’t have regular flu vaccines and some have openly admitted the last time they had a vaccine was when the H1NI scare happened.”

However, the province said there is no shortage, saying it has distributed about 570,000 flu vaccine doses, which is 20 per cent more than all of last year.

Click to play video 'Flu shot availability' Flu shot availability

Flu shot availability – Nov 5, 2020

Last year, Manitoba saw a record-high number of people roll up their sleeves to get the flu vaccine, with nearly 26 per cent of the population getting vaccinated.

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The province upped its order this year and said it ordered enough to be able to vaccinate 40 per cent of the population.

People having trouble finding a pharmacist with a flu shot supply can visit the Manitoba Flu Shot Finder at  https://www.gov.mb.ca/health/flu/finder.html.

— With files from Brittany Greenslade

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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