OPH out of senior flu vaccine

OTTAWA – Ottawa’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches reports the city has distributed all of its doses of the senior-focused flu vaccine.

“I am writing to make you aware Ottawa Public Heath (OPH) has distributed all the doses of the high-dose trivalent (HD-TIV) vaccine for those 65 years old and older that were allotted to OPH for the 2020-2021 Universal Influenza Immunization program,” Etches wrote in a memo yesterday (Nov. 10) obtained by West Carleton Online.

The Ministry of Health has also informed OPH Ontario has received 100 per cent of its order for the high-dose vaccine for older adults and all of the doses have been distributed by the Ontario Government Pharmaceutical and Medical Supply Service (OGPMSS). No additional doses of the vaccine are anticipated to be provided to OPH or other health units in Ontario at this time.

“As a result, OPH is not able to fill any more order requests from local physicians for the high-dose vaccine and the HD-TIV will no longer be available in our community influenza immunization clinics,” Etches said. “The vaccine may still be available in some pharmacies or from some physicians in limited quantities.”

Residents may wish to call their local pharmacy or health care provider to inquire about the availability of HD-TIV, though delaying vaccination is not recommended.

“Providing the weekly provincial shipment of quadrivalent (QIV) vaccine continues without interruption, OPH clinics will remain open,” Etches said.

Each year the provincial government allots and distributes a specific number of doses of vaccine for health units to distribute. OPH is not an active participant in the procurement of the vaccines, as that occurs at the provincial and federal levels.

“The province is aware we are aiming to vaccinate more people than in previous years and that the local demand for vaccine is high,” Etches said. “For your awareness, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization has stated there is insufficient evidence to make a preferential recommendation between HD-TIV and QIV for people 65 years and older. Both vaccines are effective and recommended for seniors. The most important thing is for seniors to get the vaccine that is available in their location without delay.”

For more information about influenza immunization, please refer to www.ottawapublichealth.ca/flu.