Flu vaccine stocks running low

While Fraser Health is advising people to get their flu shot, there is precious little of the vaccine to be found around Langley.

The flu season recently went into high gear again as the H1N1 virus, last seen during a worldwide pandemic in 2009, sprang up again, first in Alberta and now in B.C.

While the virus is very rarely fatal, it can cause hospitalization and is unpleasant at the best of times.

Fraser Health has been advising people to get their shots, but with flu season more than half over, many clinics are out of stock.

Fraser Health has advised residents to use their online pharmacy locater to find places close to their home that have stocks of this year’s influenza vaccine.

The website www.immunizebc.ca/clinics/flu gave 19 results for local pharmacies and health units that offered vaccinations. Of the 18 that the Langley Advance contacted, only one reported have a significant amount of the vaccine on hand – the Grove Pharmacy in Walnut Grove.

The Pharmasave in Murrayville reported having just a few doses, while three other pharmacies reported they have the dose formulated only for those aged 65 and over. The Safeways at Willowbrook Mall and in Aldergrove both had some for that age group, and the PriceSmart Pharmacy in Langley City was offering the over-65 shot to anyone.

The Shoppers Drug Mart in Brookswood reported having some stocks of the vaccine, but was out of any of the children’s formulation.

Medical clinics appear to be a slightly better bet for those still searching for a flu shot. Of five clinics contacted around Langley, three reported having at least some.

One had only the flu mist, and the others said they had a limited amount.

Fraser Health released a statement from Dr. Michelle Murti, Fraser Health’s Medical Health Officer.

“There are limited quantities of vaccine available in the community,” Murti said. “Public health units and staff are trying to fill as many vaccine orders as possible, but all units are either out of stock or nearly out of supply. We have just been notified that the province hopes to have additional doses available in the next 2-3 weeks, and we will be updating community vaccine providers when we have more details on that.”

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