Health Minister Christine Elliott insists that everyone in Ontario who requires a flu shot will get one, but anecdotal information suggests otherwise. Drug stores contacted by the Bay Observer over the last two weeks have said that they either have no vaccine or they only have the low dose vaccine that is not recommended for people over 65 years of age. Shoppers Drug mart has an interactive store locator map that allows you to screen out stores that do not have vaccine. Examining the site today If you look at the Toronto map There are about 150 locations. When you click the button that identifies outlets that are doing flu shots the number of outlets drops to 30. Its worse in Hamilton where 30 outlets in the area becomes only two when you apply the filter. A Queens Park source told the Bay Observer, “Public Health Ontario has been essentially rationing the supply. They have ordered tons of it but they aren’t getting delivery as fast as it is needed. It will be here eventually, but we are competing internationally for supply.”
In the Legislature today Health Minister Elliott stuck to the message that the vaccine shortage is simply a timing issue.
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The province has ordered 5.1 Million flue shots for a population of 14.5. and it has only ordered enough high-dose flu vaccine to look after half of the province’s over 65 population.
An Ottawa Health professor is critical of the Ontario Government’s performance on the flu vaccine file. Dr. Amir Attaran, a professor in the school of epidemiology at the University of Ottawa said, “People are being told it’s very important to get a flu vaccine, and that message is exactly correct,””But our federal and provincial governments have yet again bungled it, and not really laid the plans to vaccinate as many people as will respond to that reasonable, excellent request to be vaccinated for flu.”This is short-sightedness and incompetence at both levels of government.”