Fears give way to relief and frustration in pharmacy vaccine program
LONDON, ONT. -- Concerns about the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine seem to have all but disappeared at local pharmacies. The feelings are being replaced by frustration and relief, depending on one’s success at booking an appointment.
London resident Bob Ironside rolled up his sleeve Thursday at Coulter’s Pharmacy on Dundas Street East. The 48-year-old said he booked early and got in quickly.
“I am glad I did it. I’m glad it’s in, it’s done, and starting to do its work.”
Pharmacist Scott Coulter said it’s been non-stop since the province lowered eligibility from 55 to 40 years old earlier this week.
“I’m seeing no hesitancy at all. As soon as the 40-year-olds were allowed in, the 55-year-olds said, ‘Wait me first.’”
As of now, the small shop manages 30 shots per day, but has a wait list of 2,000. Coulter said he plans to ramp up to 45 per day next week, after the next delivery arrives. He said the pharmacy was expecting a shipment this week, but it was cancelled.
“The information I was able to find out was vaccine redistribution to hot spots and pop-up clinics in the most vulnerable areas. And potentially a lack of supply coming into the country may be part of the issue too. I’m frustrated but I understand.”
Middlesex-London Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie said he’s heard both positive and not-so-positive comments about booking a vaccination through a pharmacy.
“People who are happy to have gotten their vaccine through pharmacies, but some on the other hand who have had difficult and frustrating (experience) to have to book through multiple different pharmacies to try and find appointments sooner.”
The good news, said Mackie, is that eligibility at public health clinics was expanded Wednesday to include a wider group with high-risk health conditions. He expects the list to be expanded even further in the near future to include those with at-risk conditions.
“The at-risk group is a much longer list probably tens of thousands of people in this area which includes everything from diabetes to asthma and many conditions that are very prevalent.”