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Oct. 25, 2021 | Monday
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Pharmacy's virtual reality headsets take the edge off flu shot angst
Tony Giordano is virtually scuba diving while receiving his flu shot at Stone Road Pharmacy. (Supplied)

Virtual reality headsets, available for those anxious about getting the flu vaccine, have been a “big hit with the kids,” says Julie Dyck, of Stone Road Pharmacy.

“I had a five-year-old say, 'I like getting my flu shot,' after using the VR headset. It was his first flu shot in a pharmacy,” said Dyck, pharmacist and owner of the Virgil location.

She introduced the headsets last year to help alleviate some of the stress children, and some adults, can experience receiving the shot. This year, there are 20 different “views” that patients can choose from.

“The most popular so far is SpongeBob SquarePants. Scuba diving is a close second,” she said. “And for the thrill seeker: the roller coaster.”

Dyck said this year, administration of the flu vaccine is taking “a little longer” between appointments because of the extra sanitization needed of the rooms and headsets.

“We're encouraging families to come all together, that way the headset can be used for siblings” as families from the same household will be in the same “social bubble,” she said.

Currently, Stone Road Pharmacy is working off a waiting list, calling people in to get their flu shots as the supply becomes available. Dyck said the weekly distribution allocations have changed, which means the pharmacy is capped at ordering a certain quantity of vaccines. Orders need to be made each day for more doses.

“They’re capping it at a limited number of doses. I'm expecting that they will change that cap as we go along. But right now, to control hoarding and maintain adequate supply everywhere" restrictions are in effect.

Dyck said the pharmacy will continue to call people in as more doses become available. Most appointments are being scheduled at 15-minute intervals.

And though there is a wait and limit on available vaccines at the moment, she encourages people not to worry.

“Another message that we’re encouraging is, as important as it is, (to get the flu shot) we’re telling people not to be anxious about it. We will get to them.”

“The safety and sanitization is the most important. So, that’s why we’re spacing out the appointments and doing it in a safe, controlled manner.”