High-dosage flu shot running out amid high demand
GUELPH - The flu season is officially underway as local communities are reporting their first cases of the year.
But when it comes to the high-dosage vaccine recommended for at-risk patients, some public health units have run out.
Those doses are "prioritized for the frail elderly and seniors in long-term care homes and retirement homes," says Marlene Jantzi-Bauman with the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health unit.
Health officials say that more people are getting the flu shot this year, and it may have something to do with the fact that two children died from the flu last year in Guelph.
Since October, the WDGPH administered more than 4,200 flu shots. More than half of those went to seniors.
Jantzi-Bauman says that's four times as many people so far this year compared to last.
While her region has seen five cases already, Waterloo Region has had two confirmed cases of its own.
"Right now we have two different strains that we know are in the community," explains David Aoki with Region of Waterloo Public Health.
The region's public health unit has distributed more than 27,000 doses for use around the community.
Because it doesn't administer the flu shot on site, Aoki says he can't speak to everyone's supply.
High-dosage shots have had a delayed roll-out this year. The province blamed production issues on the manufacturers.
So far, 82 per cent of the total order of high-dosage vaccinations has been distributed across the province.
"The final deliver of the remaining 18% of the high-dose vaccine is expected to arrive at the end of November/early December," a spokesperson for the ministry of health says.
Public health officials recommend that seniors and at-risk people go get a regular flu shot if they can't find a high-dosage one, but if you do decide to wait, health officials say it's never too late.
As for what kind of flu seasion we can expect, officials say it's too early to say for sure, but for what it's worth, it's starting a little bit earlier than usual in some places.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph had its first case at the end of September.