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Few Americans looking for flu shots in Whistler

With the U.S. producing only half as many flu shots as it needs this year after one company’s samples came back contaminated, many Americans are looking to Canada, which will likely finish the flu season with a surplus of the vaccine.


Americans from Washington are heading to Vancouver to purchase shots, while an enterprising Seattle company has already sold a thousand seats on a ferry to Victoria, which will include a flu shot with the fare of $105 US.

So far, however, not many Americans have come to Whistler looking for shots.

"I think we’ve had about seven (Americans) in the last two months, so considering the number of flu vaccines we’ve given it’s not a huge number," said public health nurse Jen Leigh of Vancouver Coastal Health. "I would have expected more with all of the Americans that come to Whistler, but maybe only a few of them fell into the high risk groups or planned to get vaccinated this year."

Whistler doesn’t have a surplus of extra vaccine to sell, she said. Instead, any inquiries will be directed to a special flu clinic for American visitors on Oct. 30 hosted by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority at the Vancouver Travel Clinic.

There is no risk of B.C. being short this year, according to the health authority – B.C. regularly has a surplus of vaccine, although demand is up this year.

In Whistler, Leigh says the demand is also up this year, although they have more than enough for priority cases – the elderly, children 23 months and younger, caregivers of children 23 months and younger, people with a variety of chronic illnesses such as heart diseases and diabetes, health care providers, and emergency responders.

Vancouver Coastal Health’s last flu clinic will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 3, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. By appointment only.

In Pemberton there will be drop-in clinics at Pemberton Community Health from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 5 and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 10.

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