This year, the flu vaccine is more important than ever, as it comes down to protecting loved ones and warding off potential concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19.
And this year, you can expect the flu vaccination process to look a lot different than in the past. That’s why pharmacies, like Rexall, are taking extra precautions to ensure a safe and healthy vaccination season.
While the vaccine has long been a no-brainer for seniors and vulnerable populations, last year, only 42% of Canada’s general population opted for the flu shot.
As the impending flu season approaches, many who have fallen into this vulnerable category are likely considering the flu shot as a way of protecting themselves amidst the ongoing pandemic.
Now, more than years prior, it may be on younger generations to consider the positive impacts of getting the flu shot. According to the CDC, “getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself and the people around you from flu, and to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“With the uncertainty that COVID has brought to our lives, it is incredibly important that as many individuals as possible get vaccinated to ensure the safety of our communities and our loved ones,” says Nicolas Caprio, President, Rexall Pharmacy.
Aside from the flu shot being a proven way to avoid contracting seasonal viruses, it’s especially crucial in light of avoiding any confusion between coronavirus symptoms and those of the regular flu.
Since some of the symptoms of coronavirus and the seasonal flu are nearly indistinguishable, conflating the two has the potential to spiral into a “flu epidemic,” according to the CDC. The fallout of this could lead to overwhelmed testing centres, large-scale hospitalizations, and school shutdowns, and be detrimental to our economy.
Compounding this issue is the idea that a second coronavirus wave in conjunction with “multiple simultaneous flu outbreaks” could lead to finite resources being diverted away from pandemic relief efforts, says Caprio.
When we consider that our country’s coronavirus efforts have largely focused on alleviating its burden on our healthcare system, many experts have stated that getting the flu vaccine is a vital public health measure — one in which we all have a role to play.
“The current COVID-19 pandemic is an important factor to consider since a person can acquire it and other respiratory infections like the flu at the same time. Getting vaccinated will help to decrease the dangers for everyone,” says Caprio.
Moreover, placing our trust in pharmacists may have surprisingly positive impacts regarding how a future coronavirus vaccine is rolled out. In a pandemic situation where large populations need to get vaccinated at the same time, our healthcare system will need all hands on deck. Proper precautions, safety protocols, and training will help ensure that a rollout can be carried out effectively.
Rexall Pharmacy has been working hard to ensure that administering the flu vaccine is as safe as possible during these challenging times and will be offering the vaccine at all 400 of its Canadian locations this year.
“In light of the current reality, Rexall has taken several measures to ensure the safety of our employees and customers while receiving their flu vaccination,” says Caprio.
Rexall has evolved its safety precautions, which includes encouraging people to book their flu shot online to limit points of contact in order to prevent wait times and limit the capacity of customers at stores. Additional staff will also be on site to reinforce social distancing measures.
While there is no approved vaccine for the coronavirus yet, there is one for the flu. It’s important we do what we can to say healthy throughout flu season, and getting vaccinated is one of those measures to stay healthy.
“We play such an important role in the circle of care for our communities and patients. By making the flu shot easy and accessible we protect our patients, and they are able to protect their loved ones and all those around them,” adds Caprio.