As flu shots begin to arrive at pharmacies across Canada, the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) wants patients to know that the experience will look a little different at the pharmacy this year.
Given the new reality of COVID-19, pharmacists have been working hard to ensure they are well-prepared for this flu season. Many pharmacies are booking appointments instead of the traditional walk-in model and have implemented new procedures to keep patients safe, including strict adherence to physical distancing, PPE usage, limits on the number of patients in the pharmacy and extra time allotted for pharmacy staff to clean and put on protective equipment.
“With the second wave surge in COVID-19 cases we are starting to see, getting your flu shot is more important than ever,” says Shelita Dattani, director, knowledge translation and practice development, CPhA. “In a normal year influenza puts a heavy strain on our health care system, so we need to do everything we can to reduce the spread of influenza—and the best defense we have is the flu shot.”
When heading to your pharmacy this year for your flu shot, here are a few things to remember:
- Before you visit:
- Always contact your pharmacy in advance
- Self-screen for COVID-19 before coming to the pharmacy
- When you arrive:
- Be prepared for screening before you enter the pharmacy
- Wear a mask; If you do not have a mask, the immunization can’t be given
- Wear loose clothing with short sleeves to allow easier access to immunization site
- Arrive on time, not early, to help maintain physical distancing at the pharmacy
- Limit the number of people going with you to 1 essential caregiver where required (e.g., a parent, or caregiver to an elderly patient); households can be immunized together
For more information, see the What You Can Expect Fact Sheet.
Pharmacists have a vital public health role administering the flu shot, which is especially critical this year. Last year pharmacists administered nearly half of the flu shots across Canada, and a significant increase in demand is expected this season at the pharmacy as more Canadians say they are planning to get immunized.
“While this increase in demand is anticipated and governments have ordered additional flu vaccine to meet that demand, it’s important to note that the flu shot supply does not arrive all at once,” adds Dattani. “Pharmacies in many jurisdictions have started to receive their first batches and will continue to receive supply over the coming weeks, so we ask patients to be patient as this historic demand is met.”
SOURCE Canadian Pharmacists Association