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Flu Shot Woes

I saw the Get Your Flu Shot Here sandwich sign outside my local Rexall pharmacy, and it reminded me I should be getting a flu shot. I had heard there were some supply issues and many more than the usual number of people getting them, but there was the sign in front of Rexall. They must have them. I went in.

At the back by the pharmacy there was a second sign on the counter. This one told me to book an appointment for my flu shot. Oh, OK. I have to book an appointment. I wait for the pharmacist to wander over after counting out some pills.

I’d like to book a flu shot please.

You can’t do that here. You have to book your flu shot online.

Well, I’m here. I saw the big sign out front. How about I book my appointment in person.

No, you can’t do that. You have to book online.

Maybe your sandwich sign should read: book your flu shot appointment online instead of get your flu shot.

Icy stare.

Ok, I think I’ll go home and book my appointment online.

Have a nice day.

I went online and went through the screening questions. It was going to be 3 weeks before I could get an appointment – Nov 9. It seemed to me that the screening questions weren’t going to be useful since they were backed up until the 9th, but OK. I booked the appointment. Done.

I only mention this because this morning I received an email from Rexall:

Hi Eugene,

Your flu shot appointment has been cancelled due to a lack of vaccine supply across Ontario. Vaccine supply is determined and allocated by the provincial Ministry of Health. All efforts are being made by our Pharmacy to secure additional dosages promptly. We will send you a notification if flu vaccines become available. We appreciate your understanding. Take Care and Be Well, Your Rexall Pharmacy Team.

WTF? Should I try my luck at other pharmacies? Do I have to go see my doctor to get a flu shot? That’s what Tuffy P is doing – she goes this afternoon. I thought they were being distributed through pharmacies to keep the pressure off doctors’ offices? I hear on the radio the province has or will have plenty of vaccines. Where are they? What’s going to happen when a COVID vaccine is finally available? Will there be the same scramble to get one?

UPDATE: Rexall has cancelled all appointments for flu shots. It seems they may or may not have received all the vaccine they were allocated. Premier Ford came out today and said, Rexall knew what they were allocated and they shouldn’t have overbooked. The Province has ordered 5.1 million doses, according to CP24, of which they have already delivered 4.7 million doses. Demand is apparently up 500%. Do you think that is maybe because we’re in the middle of a COVID pandemic and the Ontario government has launched their biggest ever awareness campaign for flu shots? Could be.

I’m not giving either Rexall nor Ford a pass on this. It’s been bungled and both parties have to take some responsibility. Meanwhile, there is an Outdoor Flu Clinic coming up in my area on Saturday. I’m going to go early and try to get my shot there.


  1. People like that pharmacist are high on my hate list. I’m saving some for the people who set up this obstacle course, but at the endpoint, which I’ve been at sometimes in a position comparable to his, it’s common decency to say “this was planned badly and I’m sorry.”

    I haven’t gotten a flu shot yet this year because we are isolating so strictly that my greatest risk for either the flu or COVID is going into the pharmacy or doctor’s office to get a shot. We have literally not been in a place of public resort or even an outdoor socially distanced group of other humans since March. The only people in the house have been an HVAC repairman and the visiting nurse they sicced on me after my surgery. I still have peple calling me up to see if they can make appointments for bodywork and I don’t know what they’re smoking.

  2. Salvelinas Fontinalis

    I generally get a flu shot every year and I would normally have it already but not this year. This year the shot is problematic. The pharmacy where I have been getting jabbed does the deed in a wee small closet with a desk and a chair. You go into the closet, sit and fill out the form and while you do that they close the door. Five minutes later someone comes in and jabs you and it is done. This year Im not going to do that. I dont want to sit in a 5′ x 7′ closet with no air circulation when it is almost a certainty that one of the folks who was there before me was shedding covid virus. No thanks. I will try to find a pharmacy that will give me a shot out in the middle of the store where there is some air circulation. That doesnt follow the rules so I doubt I will be able to get a shot on my terms. A doctor’s office is similarly right out of the question for me. Im just not going to sit in that waiting room with 15 other people who should be home self isolating. I know the situation is going to be even worse for a covid shot. That one makes me really nervous because the vaccine will be sort of untested in the wild and could cause more problems than it fixes and Im not sure yet how I feel about a vaccine that hasnt been in use for multiple years. Im not an anti-vaxxer, I have done the flu shot every year for decades but this year feels different. I just dont feel good about going in to get one. A pharmacy is where sick people go to get meds. I dont want to be where sick people congregate. Especially with covid wafting about.

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