COVID, flu vaccines in short supply as clinics, pharmacies wait for new doses

On October 18, 2023 / News

Some Winnipeggers are having trouble securing a COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot appointment as pharmacies and clinics await more doses.

With fall respiratory virus season underway, the earliest available appointments are weeks away at some pharmacies for the latest booster shot targeting the Omicron XBB.1.5 subvariant. There is a staggered rollout of the vaccine, which first became available in the province Oct. 4. Some clinics and pharmacies have already allocated all of the doses in their first shipment and are waiting for more.

Pharmacies can expect to receive all of their allotted flu shot doses by the end of the month, a provincial government spokesman said Wednesday, acknowledging there initially weren’t enough to go around. There is no shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, the government stated, saying the Moderna booster is available to eligible Manitobans aged six months or older.

“Additional influenza vaccine has already arrived in Manitoba and is currently being allocated and distributed to health-care providers. Throughout the vaccination campaign, all providers can request both influenza and COVID-19 vaccines via scheduled order surveys that align with vaccine supply delivery,” the spokesman stated.

The earliest appointment Gloria Taylor could get is more than a month out. The retiree booked her booster Oct. 17 for a Nov. 30 appointment in the Corydon-Tuxedo area. Pharmacists at two different locations told her they’re all booked up and are waiting for the next batch of doses to arrive.

“I don’t know how widespread that is, but it’s kind of alarming when people like myself can’t get an appointment for over a month,” Taylor said. She noted some locations are taking walk-ins, but that leaves availability up in the air.

“There are many vulnerable populations, and older people are at greater risk, I believe, and many older people don’t have vehicles,” she said. “It’s a bad situation.”

Seniors are at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 and respiratory infections, but many must wait for vaccines to be stocked at clinic locations that are convenient for them. Taylor expressed concerns about the implications of waiting.

Read full article by Winnipeg Free Press here!