Doctors and pharmacists in Calgary are dealing with a shortage of injectable vitamin B12.     

It's part of an ongoing rotating shortage of medications due in part to the closure of a manufacturing plant in Quebec.

Vitamin B12 helps build red blood cells and has a key role in brain and nervous system functioning.

Injections are given to people — often seniors — who are unable to absorb the vitamin from their food because of a condition called pernicious anemia.

Brett Wikjord’s Calgary pharmacy ran out of B12 last week.

"It's not something that we ever see coming. It's just a matter of, we order every day when we use up stock, and then you start noticing after a while it's not coming back in," he said.

Wanda Moffat, who has pernicious anemia, was told by her pharmacist the injectable B12 she needs is not available.

"They just said that they don't have any in stock there's no pharmacy that they know of in Calgary that has it. And they have no idea how long it will take before they have some," she said.

According to family doctor David Keegan, the shortage creates an opportunity for patients to contact their doctors to try other forms of the supplement, such as nasal sprays or pills.

"We know that injectables work for anybody with a B12 deficiency, pretty well anybody. The question is does everybody need injectables, and the answer is no," he said.