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

good lookin
West Kootenay pet shop owner petitions for end to pet mills

“Our companion animal laws are pretty lax right now, we need to bring more awareness to help SPCA”

Trail and Rossland are sending in a joint application to bid on the 2026 BC Winter Games.
Trail-Rossland support 2026 BC Winter Games bid

The Greater Trail communities hosted the event in 1996 and 2006

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

The Skinny Genes Foundation is raising awareness and funds for a rare genetic disorder that claimed both his father and uncle.
NHL players, local businesses help Kootenay man raise funds and awareness for rare genetic disease

Signed NHL jerseys and local business donations up for auction in Skinny Genes Foundation fundraiser

The Columbia Basin Trust has announced grants for biodiversity initiatives. Photo: Submitted
Columbia Basin Trust announces ecosystem protection grants

Three projects are sharing a $1.35-million grant

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Most Read