Sudbury

COVID-19 could lead to more people seeking vaccinations this flu season, says Sudbury pharmacist

Amid climbing COVID-19 cases across the country, it's safe to say this flu season will be different from previous years.

'If we can get as few people as possible getting the flu, I think that's going to make things a lot easier '

Rachelle Rocha, a pharmacist and co-owner of Seasons Pharmacy & Culinaria in Sudbury says she's been preparing for what she suspects will be a busy flu season. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

For many, colder weather points to the potential for the sniffles, runny noses and the flu and amid climbing COVID-19 cases across the country, it's safe to say this flu season will be different from previous years.

It has some medical professionals saying getting a flu shot this year will be more important than ever for a couple of key reasons. 

Too many people with the flu and flu-related complications could potentially put pressure on the health system, which will likely already be under strain due to the pandemic. And a high vaccination rate can reduce the demand for COVID-19 testing, since the flu and COVID-19 have similar symptoms. 

Rachelle Rocha, a pharmacist and co-owner of Seasons Pharmacy & Culinaria in Sudbury, says she's been preparing for what she suspects will be a busy flu season.

Rocha, right, poses with co-owner of Seasons Pharmacy & Culinaria Laurie Pennell. (Jan Lakes/CBC)

'We would really like people to pre-screen'

"I'm sort of expecting that more people will want to get their flu shot just to maximize their health over the winter," she said, "If we can get as few people as possible getting the flu, I think that's going to make things a lot easier for the healthcare system to manage this winter season." 

"80 per cent of our allotment is going to be the regular flu shot and 20 per cent of the allotment is going to be the high dosage shot for high risk seniors. So we're getting some of both which we didn't last year." 

However, Rocha added that people entering her pharmacy won't be receiving a vaccination unless they pass a COVID-19 health screening. 

"We would really like people to pre-screen. So if you are sick, please don't come to the pharmacy," she said, "Call ahead to book an appointment, call ahead if you're going to cancel that appointment because you're unwell." 

'Everybody who's able to be vaccinated should be'

Karly McGibbon, a registered nurse with Public Health Sudbury & Districts, says she hopes to exceed the number of vaccinations administered last year. 

"We firmly believe that everybody who's able to be vaccinated, should be," she said, "And this year is certainly no different." 

"Will we see an increase in vaccine uptick? Hopefully. We did issue about 40,000 doses in our service area last year," and now more then ever it's important to be vaccinated."

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