Retired provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall, seen here getting his seasonal flu shot in November 2015, has returned to work on an advisory committee for COVID-19 research in B.C. (B.C. government)

Retired provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall, seen here getting his seasonal flu shot in November 2015, has returned to work on an advisory committee for COVID-19 research in B.C. (B.C. government)

B.C. pharmacists deliver a million influenza vaccinations

Will be ‘critical’ to mass COVID-19 immunization plan

B.C.’s record total of influenza vaccine delivery has reached 1.4 million, with most of those administered by community pharmacists whose expertise will soon be needed for the more ambitious COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the expanded influenza vaccination effort that began last fall has seen more than one million shots given by pharmacists, an increase from 724,000 they gave out in the 2019-20 winter flu season. The province will call on their experience and familiarity with seniors in the community to deliver two-dose COVID-19 vaccine to more than four million people by the end of this year.

“Pharmacists have played a central role, more so than ever, in our influenza vaccine campaign this year, and we are very appreciative of that role and we know that pharmacists are going to play a critical role as we deal with immunizations in the months to come,” Dix said Feb. 16.

Dix said testing for influenza continues at a higher than normal level, as public health staff distinguish between the various strains of seasonal flu and the novel coronavirus that can exhibit similar symptoms of respiratory illness. Testing to date shows little evidence of community transmission of influenza, he said.

RELATED: After 30,000 tests, no ‘wild’ influenza found in B.C.

RELATED: Bonnie Henry succeeds Perry Kendall as B.C.’s top doctor

The B.C. government secured an extra 450,000 influenza vaccine doses last fall as part of its preparations for COVID-19, bringing the total to two million doses. Influenza typically drives an increase in hospital admissions each fall and winter, peaking at about 15 per cent of hospital admissions by February.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control reported that influenza testing up to Jan. 9 produced seven positive results in 30,000 tests, showing 12 different strains of seasonal influenza. But each of the seven people who tested positive had received the live attenuated influenza vaccine, “suggesting vaccine-type rather than wild-type virus” that was contracted in the community, the BCCDC said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Longtime basketball coach Allison McNeill is worried that the COVID-19 pandemic will adversely affect high-school athletes with university athletic aspirations. (Garrett James/Langley Events Centre photo)
COVID-19: Young athletes scrambling for scholarships, opportunities amid pandemic

‘They lost their whole Grade 12 year’ says Semiahmoo basketball coach Allison McNeill

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
White Rock woman among dozens in Lower Mainland to benefit from Elder Dog program

Dog-care organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but requires more clients to serve

Travis Selje with Rex, the family dog he got to enjoy for the final six months of his life. (Submitted photo)
Defence says evidence ‘compelling, overwhelming’ to acquit Surrey woman in deadly crash

Epileptic seizure caused fatal crash that killed Travis Selje, lawyer argues in final submissions

TEASER
WATCH: Surrey-made anti-bullying video urges youth to #BlockEmDontShareEm

“Break the chain by deleting the image and never forwarding – not even to a best friend’

Surrey RCMP on scene of a crash involving a motorized scooter and a car in the intersection of 102 Avenue and City Parkway on Wednesday, Feb. 24. (Photos: Shane MacKichan)
Elderly man sent to hospital after scooter crashes with car in Surrey

Surrey RCMP say it happened at about 8:30 a.m. in the intersection of 102 Avenue and City Parkway

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

A woman boards a transit bus through rear doors, in Vancouver, on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
TransLink slow to reveal crucial details about ransomware attack, says union

Union says company took months to admit what info was stolen, including SIN and bank account details

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

Most Read