DARTMOUTH: Pharmacy teams across the province are encouraging Nova Scotians to get their flu shot.

“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,” says Curt Chafe, chair of the board of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia. “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.”

More than 300 pharmacies in Nova Scotia are preparing to provide the flu shot to significantly more people this year as demand for the flu shot is expected to be high. However, those who are used to getting their shot at the pharmacy may notice some differences this year.

“The health and safety of patients and staff is of paramount importance to all of our members,” says Allison Bodnar, CEO of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia. “That is why pharmacies have implemented new procedures this year including limiting the numbers of people in the pharmacy at any time, enhanced cleaning between patients and many are requiring patients to book appointments in advance.“

These new procedures may mean it may take a little longer to get a flu shot and patients should expect to have to complete a COVID screening and to wear masks during the service.

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

Pharmacists can now administer a flu shot to adults and children aged two and up. Pharmacy teams are encouraging households to make getting their flu shot a family event.

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.