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B.C. pharmacies say getting a flu shot will look different this year

Click to play video 'Health Matters: Reasons to get a flu shot this year' Health Matters: Reasons to get a flu shot this year
WATCH: Infectious disease expert Dr. Horacio Bach discusses how flu shots can help in the fight against COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic will change the way many British Columbians get their flu shots, according to the B.C. Pharmacy Association.

The association said many pharmacies will require people to book an appointment for a flu shot in advance, rather than walk in.

Patients will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and should expect to answer questions so a pharmacist can determine whether they are eligible for the publicly-funded shot, the association said.
Click to play video 'The importance of getting a flu shot this fall' The importance of getting a flu shot this fall
The importance of getting a flu shot this fall

Given the rise in awareness around respiratory illnesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists are expecting an increased demand for flu shots this year.

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Children between the ages of two and 17 will be able to get their vaccine from a nasal spray. A high-dose vaccine will once again be available to people aged 65 and over.

Read more: Coronavirus: B.C. to buy nearly 2 million doses of flu vaccine to prepare for fall

B.C. has purchased nearly two million doses of the flu shot, almost 500,000 more than was initially planned.

The province has not said when the shots will be available.

Health officials have said they’re worried that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with a fall flu season, will lead to an overwhelming strain on the health-care system.

“We learned when we were watching what was happening in the southern hemisphere, in New Zealand and Australia, that there was a high demand for the vaccine. And they have had a mild season because of a high use of the vaccine,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said last week.

“We know it works well and is a way to keep people healthy and helps reduce those having symptoms that could be confused with COVID.”

The flu shot will not be mandatory, Henry said.

— With files from Richard Zussman

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