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Flu Shot Safety During COVID-19: What You Need To Know

This year, more than ever, we need to help  protect our loved ones – so get the flu shot…

We are entering a flu season unlike any other. With cooler weather on the way, health professionals are on high alert anticipating what this year’s flu (or influenza) season might look like on top of a second wave of COVID-19. The Canadian medical system is bracing for an onslaught of testing and hospitalizations, with provinces and territories ordering a collective 22 per cent more doses of the flu vaccine than last year.

The question is, will more people get vaccinated?

It’s easy to think of the reasons why not: for many of us who have been physically distancing since March, we haven’t had so much as a sniffle in months. So why risk a trip to a crowded waiting room, when we’re staying away from people anyway?

This year, especially, we can’t risk complacency around the flu. Last year, only 42 per cent of the Canadian population was vaccinated against the flu. To help protect the ones we love, we must do better, simply because there is more at stake than ever.

As front line staff and essential workers at Rexall, we have taken the responsibility to step up and encourage every person who comes to our pharmacy to get a flu shot, while promoting that all Rexall employees should receive their flu vaccination as well.

With similar symptoms to COVID-19, a flu epidemic could overwhelm our testing centres and drive large-scale hospitalizations as well as shutdowns of our schools – not to mention the knock-on effects to our economy.

If the goal of our country’s pandemic measures has largely been to control the burden on our healthcare system, flu vaccination is an important step in this plan. And we all have a role to play.

Rexall Pharmacy, a trusted ally in our communities for over 100 years, has been stepping up to ensure that administering the flu vaccine is as safe as possible during these challenging times, by introducing additional precautions to protect Canadians.

“At Rexall, our top priority is ensuring that every patient is cared for. That’s why we’ve taken extra steps this year – from physical distancing, to online scheduling of appointments – to keep Canadians healthy and well,” says Nicolas Caprio, the president of Rexall Pharmacy.

Rexall is offering the flu vaccine at all of its Canadian locations this year, but with a few key enhanced safety protocols in place. In addition to COVID precautions – such as limiting the number of people in the store, requiring masks or face coverings, and regularly disinfecting high-traffic areas – Rexall has evolved its approach to vaccination. While the pharmacies will still accept walk-ins, they will encourage people to book their flu shot online at Rexall.ca or through the Be Well app.  This digital scheduling tool, powered by MedMe, will enable patients to schedule their vaccinations in advance, allowing for a steady flow of patients without overcrowding the stores. Following all the recommendations of the National Advisory Committee of Immunization, Rexall will also have additional staff on site to ensure that physical distancing rules are respected.

Now more than ever, we all have to do our part to help protect each other, and our healthcare system, by getting the flu vaccine. While there is no vaccine for COVID-19 yet, there is one for the flu. And it is essential that we all get vaccinated in as safe a manner as possible.

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