Retired provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall, seen here getting his seasonal flu shot in November 2015, has returned to work on an advisory committee for COVID-19 research in B.C. (B.C. government)

Retired provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall, seen here getting his seasonal flu shot in November 2015, has returned to work on an advisory committee for COVID-19 research in B.C. (B.C. government)

B.C. pharmacists deliver a million influenza vaccinations

Will be ‘critical’ to mass COVID-19 immunization plan

B.C.’s record total of influenza vaccine delivery has reached 1.4 million, with most of those administered by community pharmacists whose expertise will soon be needed for the more ambitious COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the expanded influenza vaccination effort that began last fall has seen more than one million shots given by pharmacists, an increase from 724,000 they gave out in the 2019-20 winter flu season. The province will call on their experience and familiarity with seniors in the community to deliver two-dose COVID-19 vaccine to more than four million people by the end of this year.

“Pharmacists have played a central role, more so than ever, in our influenza vaccine campaign this year, and we are very appreciative of that role and we know that pharmacists are going to play a critical role as we deal with immunizations in the months to come,” Dix said Feb. 16.

Dix said testing for influenza continues at a higher than normal level, as public health staff distinguish between the various strains of seasonal flu and the novel coronavirus that can exhibit similar symptoms of respiratory illness. Testing to date shows little evidence of community transmission of influenza, he said.

RELATED: After 30,000 tests, no ‘wild’ influenza found in B.C.

RELATED: Bonnie Henry succeeds Perry Kendall as B.C.’s top doctor

The B.C. government secured an extra 450,000 influenza vaccine doses last fall as part of its preparations for COVID-19, bringing the total to two million doses. Influenza typically drives an increase in hospital admissions each fall and winter, peaking at about 15 per cent of hospital admissions by February.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control reported that influenza testing up to Jan. 9 produced seven positive results in 30,000 tests, showing 12 different strains of seasonal influenza. But each of the seven people who tested positive had received the live attenuated influenza vaccine, “suggesting vaccine-type rather than wild-type virus” that was contracted in the community, the BCCDC said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Kaslo Outdoor Recreation and Trail Society will build a trail on Mount Buchanan, seen here with society secretary Stuart Heard, with support from Columbia Basin Trust. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay trails receive Columbia Basin Trust funding

Several locations in the West Kootenay are undergoing upgrades

A mural by Sheldon Louis on the parkade and another by Kevin Ledo on the Hume Hotel, from Nelson’s 2019 mural festival. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Study of arts economy in Nelson proposed to city council

The proposal has been prompted by huge arts sector losses in the city due to COVID-19

A member of the Avalanche Canada South Rockies field team gathers important snowpack data that is used to produce daily avalanche forecasts for the region. Photo by Jennifer Coulter.
Warming temperatures increase avalanche risk heading into the weekend

Warm temperatures impact conditions, human behaviour

Get used to visiting Whitewater Ski Resort during the summer. It’s adding off-season programming thanks to a provincial grant. File photo
Province grants Whitewater $1m for summer rec plans

The ski resort will expand its mountain biking, hiking and climbing options

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Most Read