London Drugs offers private stock of flu shot — for a price

Those having trouble finding a flu shot from pharmacies in Calgary can head to London Drugs for a dose from its private supply — but it won't be free.

Chain says it has held private supply for past 5 years

Many Calgary pharmacies carrying the province's flu vaccine are out of stock but some are finding a way around that — for a price. 2:46

Many Calgary pharmacies carrying the province's flu vaccine are out of stock but some are finding a way around that — for a price.

The vaccine will help guard against the H1N1 virus, which Alberta health officials said Monday has been linked to 10 deaths, and 300 hospitalizations. 

London Drugs has had a private supply of the flu shot available since the end of September.

Pharmacies in Calgary have depleted their stocks of flu vaccine after several days of increased demand.

The chain has been purchasing its own supply for the past five years and selling it for $20 to people who can't wait for the province to make the shot available for all.

"There's certain Albertans that need their shots before it becomes publicly available, which is on Oct. 21 of this year, because they might be snowbirds going down south ahead of time," said Chris Chiew, pharmacy operations manager at London Drugs.

Pharmacies supplied by the province have been facing shortages due to a Friday push by Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne for people to get vaccinated.

Chain buys vaccine from different supplier

The province says it has enough vaccine — which it gets from suppliers Novartis, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline — but isn't able to distribute enough to pharmacies to keep up with increased demand.

Chiew says London Drugs bought its stock of vaccine from Abbott Laboratories and has had it for a while.

"We actually had that stock well before Alberta Health Services made their announcement about the public vaccination and that's a key point to remember, that we did have this well available," he said.

Many of the pharmacists CBC News has spoken with says they expect to have the vaccine back in stock over the next few days.

As well, the mass clinics reopen Tuesday and will be stocked with enough vaccine to immunize anyone who wants it — for free.

One is located at Brentwood Village in the northwest and the other is at the South Calgary Health Centre. Both open at 11 a.m. MT Tuesday. 

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