If you have been calling local pharmacies looking for flu shot there is some concerning news. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health says 80 percent of Ontario’s allocation of flu vaccine has already been distributed. The spokesperson told the Bay Observer that of the 5.1 Million doses that the province ordered, “as of Oct 22, 2020 over 4.06 million doses of flu vaccine have been distributed to public health units and distributors, over 1.2 million more doses compared to the same time period last year.
The quantities of flu vaccine that Ontario procures is estimated based on historical ordering patterns, administration data and returned vaccine doses and wastage. The estimated net usage for 2019-2020 was 4.4 million doses. Ontario is undertaking the largest flu immunization campaign in Ontario’s history. We’ve ordered 5.1 million flu vaccine doses in partnership with the federal government and other provinces and territories. This is 700,000 more than the approximated usage last year. This includes 1.3 million high-dose vaccine doses for Ontario seniors, especially those with pre-existing health conditions.”
That would mean there are only 900,000 doses left for distribution. The spokesperson suggests that the province is scouring the market for more vaccine. “The ministry is actively exploring the procurement of additional flu vaccine doses with the federal government.”
The spokesperson continued, “It’s important to remember that the province does not receive its vaccine order in one shipment. We receive the flu vaccine from global manufacturers based on set schedules in coordination with Health Canada. These supplies are received in multiple shipments, as in previous years, beginning in late September throughout November. Distribution timelines may vary by public health unit and wholesale distributors. As avoiding vaccine wastage is very important due to the expected increase in demand this year, multiple shipments of the flu vaccine helps to ensure that doses are being used as efficiently and effectively as possible. The province will explore the purchase of additional doses as required.” With November less than a week away it would appear that unless the province finds a new source of vaccine the remaining distribution will be limited to the 900,000 doses not award distributed. A Queen’s Park source told the Bay Observer that Canada is competing on the world market for vaccine.