WRH reports shortage of flu vaccine for staff

Windsor Regional Hospital Ouellette campus. Blackburn News file photo.

Flu season has barely begun, but one local hospital is being forced to make adjustments as far as their flu vaccine supply is concerned.

Windsor Regional Hospital President and CEO David Musyj told board members at their meeting Thursday night that the hospital received a limited supply of the flu vaccine for staff. Musyj blamed the shortage on a supply issue that has affected hospitals across the country.

Karen Riddell, WRH’s vice-president of critical care, cardiology, stroke, trauma and clinical support services, confirmed that the supply the hospital received so far only covered a fraction of their 4,000-plus staff members.

“We’ve actually only received about 260 doses to date for staff, so those have all been administered,” said Riddell. “We have no more left on hand for staff and we’re not expecting another delivery until November 15th, and we really don’t know what we’re going to be getting.”

Riddell said she does not remember when there has been such a low quantity of the vaccine arriving in the first batch.

“Sometimes it actually takes a while to get the first delivery of the vaccine, but typically we have not seen the kind of limited supplies coming through that we have been seeing this year,” said Riddell. “So that’s a bit different for us.”

For the time being, hospital staff are being asked to make their own arrangements to get the highly-recommended flu vaccine. Riddell noted that there is no current outbreak or public health emergency, and vaccines are available at doctors’ offices, pharmacies and the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

Riddell said, however, that currently-admitted hospital patients are covered. Vaccines for hospital patients arrive separately and there is a supply on hand for patients who may require it.

With the flu season underway, the hospital once again reminds the public not to visit the hospital if they are feeling ill, and frequent handwashing is the first line of defence against illness and infection.