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Flu shots popular at local pharmacies

AMHERST – Getting your flu shot in Nova Scotia has never been easier.

Karen Isenor (left), pharmacist-manager at Amherst Pharmasave, delivers a flu shot to employee Melissa Marks. Pharmacies around the province are delivering flu shots to a growing number of Nova Scotians this year.

Pharmacies throughout Cumberland County are reporting increases in demand for flu shots, which people can now get at many locations by just walking through the door and asking for it.

“Last year was busy; this year, even more so,” said Sean Cheverie, pharmacist/owner at Amherst Pharmasave and Wright’s Pharmasave in Parrsboro. “The public seems to enjoy the convenience – extended hours and no appointment necessary.”

This is the second year that pharmacists in Nova Scotia are permitted to give injections, which includes flu shots.

The Springhill Community Pharmacy has given more shots than it did last year, according to pharmacist/owner Murray Fraser, who estimated they have given about 450 shots in the past month or more.

“We have signs out, and people are just coming in saying they saw our sign,” said Fraser. “Some weren’t able to get out to a scheduled clinic, or hadn’t made an appointment with their doctor. Having flexible hours makes it easy for them.”

Aside from the in-store injections, many pharmacies also offer a community outreach program. The Parrsboro pharmacy held a successful clinic in nearby Port Greville, for example, and have also gone into local small businesses and provided the shots.

“Employees have welcomed this as it has the potential, at least, to reduce sick days,” said Cheverie. “

At the same time, community clinics from Nova Scotia Public Health have seen a corresponding decrease. Eventually, he expects public health flu clinics will be minimal.

The department of health encourages all Nova Scotians to get the shot, particularly those in high-risk groups such as pregnant women, seniors and children between ages six months and five years. Last year, 42 per cent of Nova Scotians got the flu shot.

“Last year, we had people still coming in January,” said Fraser. “It’s never too late, but the earlier the better.”

Twitter: @ADNandrew

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