Health

Doctors worry supplies of flu vaccine, PPE won't meet demand, survey suggests

A new survey finds many doctors fear they won't have enough of the flu vaccine to meet the demand this season.

More than half physicians continue to encounter challenges acquiring personal protective equipment

The Canadian Medical Association says more than 86 per cent of respondents to a recent survey said they worry influenza season during a pandemic will put an extra strain on the health care system. (David Goldman/Associated Press)

A new survey suggests many doctors fear they won't have enough of the flu vaccine to meet demand this season.

The Canadian Medical Association says more than 86 per cent of 1,459 survey respondents said they worry influenza season will put additional strain on the health care system.

Of those doctors who offer the flu vaccine, half said they won't have enough doses to meet demand and 85 per cent said the system needs more capacity.

The survey, conducted Aug. 19 to 24, also found 54 per cent of respondents still struggle to acquire personal protective equipment.

The survey found 68 per cent worry suppliers won't have enough PPE, 62 per cent expect orders to be delayed and more than half fear global demand will hinder supply.

Extra flu vaccines ordered

Nevertheless, three quarters of those asked said they believe the health care system is better prepared for COVID-19 resurgences than it was during the first wave.

Canadian health officials have said that additional flu vaccines have been ordered this year to meet expected demand.

Earlier this month, a Public Health Agency of Canada spokesperson told The Canadian Press the agency ordered 13 million doses of the flu vaccine, up from 11.2 million last year.

CMA president Dr. Ann Collins said influenza immunization "is more important than ever this year."

"We need to avoid a possible twin epidemic of flu and COVID-19 as it can be devastating to patients and our ability to sustain health care delivery," Collins said Tuesday in a media release.

"We need to focus on greater funding and resourcing of public health to support mass vaccination efforts."

She also said it's "imperative" that governments ensure front line workers are protected by PPE as COVID-19 surges in many parts of Canada.

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