Ambulance bought on Kijiji helps Cape Breton pharmacist deliver flu shots

·2 min read

A pharmacist in Cape Breton is making sure residents of rural communities are receiving a flu shot this year.

Michael Hatt, the owner and pharmacist at the Medicine Shoppe in Port Hawkesbury, N.S., converted an old ambulance he purchased on Kijiji into a mobile clinic. He uses it to travel to communities and businesses to deliver the flu shot.

Hatt said it is good for businesses that wish to have the flu shot for their employees, but also to travel to rural communities that aren't close to health services.

"We're trying to focus on areas where people may have a fragile elderly population or young children, so they don't have to load them up in a car and drive a half hour or 45 minutes," said Hatt.

Brent Kelloway/CBC
Brent Kelloway/CBC

The mobile clinic is usually set up in the parking lot of the community centre. That eliminates the need for pandemic protocols inside the community centre.

"We've been focusing on places like Louisdale, Judique, Mulgrave, Aulds Cove, and it's always been receptive," said Hatt.

Hatt is currently enrolled in the doctor of pharmacy program at Memorial University of Newfoundland. The idea for a mobile clinic came out of a project where he had to come up with 10 good service ideas.

Eases nerves

Graham MacKenzie, the pharmacist and owner of Stone's Pharmasave in Baddeck, said it's important to get the vaccine to the rural areas.

"Perhaps those people are even nervous about coming into something like a doctor's office or a pharmacy," said MacKenzie.

MacKenzie said he goes to fewer than a dozen rural communities that schedule a community flu shot. He was recently in Indian Brook in Victoria County.

"I'm happy just to kind of get out of the pharmacy and do them every year," said MacKenzie.

Hatt said other than their mobile clinic being outside, the procedure is pretty well the same for getting a flu shot at a pharmacy.

"We just basically park in the parking lot, people drive up, they would pick a number and wait," said Hatt.

People also stay parked in their cars for 15 minutes after receiving their shot.

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