Tis’ the season: Pharmacies prepare for the upcoming flu season

A professional picture of Jean-Marc Bélanger.
Jean-Marc Bélanger, owner and head pharmacist of Uniprix Knowlton. Photo courtesy of Jean-Marc Belanger.
Holly Mueller - CIDI - KnowltonQC | 09-11-2020
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Flu season has arrived, adding more germs to the list that Canadians have to worry about.

The flu (influenza) viruses are infectious and they circulate every year around November until March. But this year, it is different because there are two pandemics to worry about — “twin-demics,” if you will.

Currently, there is a rush at the local pharmacies and CLSCs (Quebec public clinics) for flu vaccines.

“My pharmacy is vaccinating three times a week and we are scheduled to vaccinate over 1000 people,” said Jean-Marc Bélanger, owner and head pharmacist at Uniprix Knowlton.

As for scheduling an appointment, you may be put on a waiting list.

“The province of Quebec this year is allowing pharmacies to do vaccinations, but we had to make our orders in June. When we did the calculations then, we didn’t know that the shots would be in such high demand this year,” said Bélanger. “We currently have a waiting list of people.”

Flu shots are recommended for people at risk (i.e.: suffering from heart disease, asthma, old age, etc.), or individuals living with people in these categories. However, contrary to popular belief, the need for a flu shot is not always necessary. For people in the at-risk categories, the shots are free of cost, but for individuals outside of these constraints, the government does not cover the costs.

“It was a huge debate this year to lower the at-risk age from 70 down to 60,” said Bélanger.

If the pharmacies are full, the CLSCs also offer flu shots by appointment. Please visit the website www.clicsante.ca for more information and to schedule an appointment.

In the province, flu vaccinations are allowed to begin on Nov. 1, but most local facilities will begin Nov. 9. Please remember when getting your flu vaccinations to wear a mask, arrive alone and at the exact time of your appointment, disinfect your hands, respect physical distancing and circulation arrows, bring your health card and wear short sleeve clothing.

For more information, or to inquire about an appointment, please contact the numbers below:

Uniprix Knowlton – Jean-Marc Bélanger: 450-243-5700.

CLSC (All regions of Quebec): 1-877-921-5118.