rexall flu shot

Doug Ford blames Rexall for flu shot shortage

If you've booked in to get a flu shot at your local Rexall in recent days, you may have found yourself one of a number of residents who have had their appointments unexpectedly cancelled by the pharmacy .

Though Rexall informed customers that the cancellations were due to "a lack of vaccine supply across Ontario," Doug Ford told a different story in his daily press conference on Monday, blaming the major chain for apparently overbooking patients. 

Ford assured reporters that the province had initially ordered 700,000 more flu vaccines than last year for a total of 5.1 million before ordering another 300,000 doses, and that a third of the population has received it, with a 500 per cent increase of people getting the shot than in previous years.

"Right now, pharmacies [alone] have given over a million flu shots in total and 4.8 million have been distributed...we're doing everything we can," Ford said. "But as for Rexall, you knew the allocations that you had, so don't overbook people, it's as simple as that."

Meanwhile Shoppers Drug Mart, the second major retailer offering the inoculation at its pharmacy, has also had issues keeping the flu shot in stock this season. 

Multiple locations have had to turn lineups of people away earlier this month after running out of vaccines, and are now booking appointments weeks in advance.

Amid the fiasco, Rexall has now actually put its entire flu vaccine program on hold for the time being, telling the Canadian Press that it is making "all efforts" to get more doses into its locations.

Only 20 per cent of the province's flu vaccines have gone specifically to pharmacies like Shoppers and Rexall this year, a representative from the Ontario Pharmacists Association told Breakfast Television, while more and more people are choosing to get their shot at such locations instead of at a doctor's office.

With distribution fully controlled by the Ministry of Health, it unfortunately seems that Doug Ford's statement that the provincial government is "doing everything we can to make sure that as many people get that vaccination as possible" isn't ringing true for many residents right now.

Lead photo by

Patrick Asselin/Google


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