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Pharmacists across N.S. preparing to provide flu shots to ‘significantly more people this year’

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The Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia is encouraging Nova Scotians to get their flu shot as demand for the shot is expected to be high this year.

“Although we are still waiting for a COVID vaccine, we have an effective vaccine for the flu already and everyone should do their part to reduce the strain on our health system,” said Curt Chafe, chair of the board of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia in a press release.

“Although we don’t know the impact of having both viruses at the same time, we do know both put significant strain on individuals, workplaces and our health system. Like washing your hands and staying six feet apart, getting your flu shot protects yourself and others from getting the flu.”

READ MORE: Flu shot protected most people from infection during unusual influenza season: study

According to the association, more than 300 pharmacies in Nova Scotia are preparing to provide the flu shot under new rules due to COVID-19 to significantly more people this year as demand for the flu shot increases.

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The CEO of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia, Allison Bodnar, said pharmacies have implemented new procedures this year, including limiting the numbers of people in the pharmacy at any time and enhancing cleaning between patients. Many pharmacies are requiring patients to book appointments in advance.

“These new procedures may mean it may take a little longer to get your flu shot and patients should expect to have to complete a COVID screening and to wear masks during the service,” the association said in a press release.

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Procedures may be different at each pharmacy, according to the association, and “patients are encouraged to contact their pharmacy ahead of time to find out how they are handling the flu season this year.”

“Pharmacies will likely be doing it a little differently this year,” said pharmacist Diane Harpell. “A lot of them might be doing it by appointment only instead of just doing walk-ins. So call and be sure you know what the process is going to be at the pharmacy.”

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Pharmacists can also now administer a flu shot to adults and children aged two and up.

“The shipment of flu vaccine will be available to all providers throughout the province just after Thanksgiving, but everyone is reminded to have patience as the full supply of vaccine takes several weeks to arrive into Nova Scotia,” the association said.

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