Why this year's flu shot campaign may be a dress rehearsal for a COVID-19 vaccine

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Across the country Canadians have been scrambling to get their annual flu shot -- especially after being told by public health officials that it's vital we stay healthy during the pandemic to reduce the strain on ICUs and healthcare providers. But the high demand and lags in distributing the vaccine mean that many pharmacies and doctors are out of flu shots and are waiting for more to arrive. This week White Coat Black Art looks at why the flu shot is hard to come by this year and what that might mean for a possible roll out of a COVID- 19 vaccine. We hear from Dr. Iris Gorfinkel, a family doctor and vaccine researcher in Toronto, who says the wait for the flu shot can have ramifications for people who are at higher risk. She says inefficiencies in the system, including waste, could be addressed if Canada developed a national vaccine registry using barcodes that are already on most vaccines. Dr. Monika Dutt, the medical officer of health in Newfoundland, tells us how that province is managing an ambitious goal to vaccinate 85 percent of its population against the flu, compared to 30 percent in previous years. Sheli Dattani, the Director of Practice Development for the Canadian Pharmacist's Association says pharmacists are also having to turn patients away in some parts of the country because of high demand for the shot this year. While she's confident that Canadians will get the vaccine eventually, she says it's evidence that there's more work to be done to ensure a smooth rollout of any COVID-19 vaccine

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