Flu vaccine requests have increased in Canada, as simultaneous infections with the Corona virus and influenza are feared

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Dr Monica Noss, medical director of the Infectious Diseases and Immunization Service at the British Columbia Center for Disease Control, said the province had requested 2 million doses of several types of influenza vaccines, up from 1.5 million doses last season.

Alberta Health spokesman Tom Macmillan said a record quantity of the vaccine has been ordered this year, up 23 percent from last season.

“We are currently developing new policies to address physical distancing and other public health measures that may be necessary this year as a result of the pandemic,” Macmillan said.

Ontario Department of Health spokesman David Jensen said the Ontario Ministry of Health has ordered an additional 300,000 doses and is exploring purchasing more.

Noss said that only about 60 percent of elderly people usually receive the vaccination, but that drops to 50 percent for people with chronic heart and lung disease.

“A person with influenza and COVID will be more sick,” said Noss, noting that people suffering from any type of respiratory disease will be required to stay at home and may have to undergo testing to rule out the new Corona virus.

“The overall burden on the population, on the healthcare system, on testing, all that, if we could vaccinate more people to prevent the transmission of influenza,” will be reduced.

Noss said that entire families will be encouraged to get vaccinated together, in contrast to testing for COVID-19, adding that the BC is expected to start receiving flu vaccine shipments in mid-September, with long-term care provided to residents and healthcare workers in preference.

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And she said that unlike last year, the nasal spray form of the flu vaccine will be available in Canada for children between the ages of two and 17 years, adding that it is a good option for those who fear needles.

This report was first published by The Canadian Press on September 6, 2020.

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