Nova Scotia

Flu shot hard to find as many pharmacies in Nova Scotia run short

Early demand for the flu shot has led to sporadic shortages at pharmacies across Nova Scotia. The chair of the pharmacy association expects supply to be restored soon.

Chair of the pharmacy association urges patience

Flu shots are in short supply at pharmacies across the province (Vernon Ramesar/CBC)

Flu shot demand is outstripping supply at many pharmacies in Nova Scotia.

The Shoppers Drug Mart locator page shows only a handful of its outlets in the province have the vaccine available, with none on the Halifax peninsula. Other chain and independent pharmacies in the province are facing a similar dilemma. 

Diane Harpell, chair of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia, told CBC News that heightened awareness surrounding COVID-19 led to a rush for flu shots.

"The biggest thing for me was how early the demand started this year versus last year and versus other years," she said.

Harpell said supply constraints have forced some pharmacies to put their flu shot programs on hold. 

"There are still some people that have stopped," she said. "The deliveries from Public Health have slowed down a little bit. So I think we're sort of in a building phase in some locations for our next delivery."

Diane Harpell of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia expects more vaccines to be delivered soon. (PANS)

She said pharmacies in Nova Scotia get regular shipments from the province every season and she thinks the same will apply this season.

"We haven't heard anything different," she said. "So my hope is that we're still going to get vaccine."

She said some pharmacies are in a "sort of waiting phase."

"Give us some patience," she said. "And if we're having to wait a little while for supply, our hope is that it will come in."

Province waiting for supplies to be shipped

In a statement to CBC News, the Health Department said the situation arises almost every year and it is important for Nova Scotians to know there is no flu vaccine shortage. 

It said the province has ordered more flu shots this year than any previous year, and it is waiting for more supplies to be shipped.

"We need people and providers to be patient," the statement said. "For providers, if you have a supply of vaccine, please share it with other providers within your communities; the vaccine is no good to anyone in storage."

In the interim, the department is urging anyone who isn't able to get the flu shot from their normal provider to call around.


Vernon Ramesar


Vernon Ramesar is a reporter and video and radio journalist originally based in Trinidad. He now lives in Halifax.