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Continuing lack of clarity on flu shot supply

Continuing lack of clarity on flu shot supply

Health Minister Christine Elliott was not present at today’s news conference with Premier Doug Ford, and when he was asked about the apparent shortage of flu shot vaccine, he still did not address the fundamental question of whether there will be enough vaccine to look after everyone in Ontario who wants a shot. Earlier Minister Elliott told reporters that the province is actively scouring the supply chain for more doses. Two numbers that seem to recur in this discussion is that the province ordered somewhere around 5.1 million doses of the vaccine back before the COVID pandemic hit. The government says it has “distributed” somewhere around 4.5 Million doses, but what is not clear is whether those 4.5 million doses have actually been administered to patients or whether they are being kept in reserve for future use. If they have already been administered to patients then it means that there is only about 600,000 doses left to be administered with many Ontarians saying they can’t find a pharmacy that has a supply of vaccine. Here is Premier Ford dealing with a reporter’s question on Flu vaccine availability:

The Bay Observer attempted to get a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health to tell us how many doses have been administered and how many are left. In reply a ministry spokesperson said, “The province continues to receive regular shipments of its total order, in addition to continuing to explore all options to procure additional flu vaccine doses. Yesterday, Minister Elliott spoke to Minister Hadju to request that the federal government work with manufacturers to deliver the remainder of the province’s doses purchased through its national bulk purchasing program at an accelerated rate, as well as explore the provision of additional doses beyond what was procured. We have also reached out to our private sector partners to identify additional opportunities to procure supply beyond the historic levels that have already been distributed to Ontarians. “

The spokesperson also noted that, no doubt because of social distancing and face covering, “ influenza cases per the national and Ontario surveillance systems are low for this time of year compared to previous years.”

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