Pharmacies across the Lower Mainland continue to be inundated with a high volume of requests for vaccines after the B.C. government approved pharmacists to deliver the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine.
The COVID-19 AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine is available to people aged 55-65 living in the Lower Mainland thanks to a partnership between Immunize BC and community pharmacists.
AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD does not have the same storage requirements as other vaccines, so it may be more easily transported and delivered.
But the pharmacy rollout has encountered a few hurdles.
London Drugs vaccine rollout
London Drugs opened up online appointment bookings Monday after the province announced a limited additional supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Those aged 55 to 65 can visit the online booking system and follow the prompts to find available appointments.
However, Chris Chiew, General Manager of Pharmacy for London Drugs, tells Vancouver Is Awesome in a statement that the company only has 2,200 doses spread through 20 stores. As a result, he expects that "there will be a waitlist created online."
People will only be served on a first-come first-served basis online, adds Chiew. "We will not be taking any appointments or waitlist via phone.
"More appointments will open up as we receive more vaccine. We won’t know if we receive more until later this week," he notes.
Previously, London Drugs urged British Columbians not to phone the chain’s pharmacies to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments after being “inundated” by calls.
Shoppers Drug Mart vaccine rollout
A spokesperson for Loblaw Companies Ltd., the parent company of Shoppers Drug Mart, tells V.I.A. that the company continues to see a high demand at its pharmacies, which demonstrates "the important role pharmacists play in delivering convenient and accessible healthcare to British Columbia residents."
Currently, select Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaw pharmacy locations in the Lower Mainland have a "very limited supply" of vaccines. These locations will continue to vaccinate those 55 to 65 years of age, by appointment only.
"We encourage all eligible and interested residents to call or visit a participating store to book an appointment."
Here is what some locals are saying about the vaccine rollout in Lower Mainland pharmacies.
I got my vaccine today, thank you. Shoppers Drug Mart handled it very well under this intense pressure. Was very quick/efficient.— Deb (@Debwilde) April 1, 2021
Dad got his recently too...so very grateful for all the hard work everyone is doing to keep us safe.
So if we continue with this stupidity , people might just get the virus by lining up at pharmacies waiting 4 their vaccine for hours! ORGANIZE IT MORONS!This is an aerosol virus for God’s sake #shoppersDrugMart #AstraZenaca #COVID19 & ur mask should cover ur nose & mouth 🤦🏻— Aram (@freespiritmann) April 1, 2021
Hello fellow 55-65 year olds in B.C. How the hell do you book an Astra Zeneca vaccine? Found one online waiting list (@saveonfoods). Did that. Shoppers Drug Mart answers every question in its covid vaccine FAQ except how to book an appointment. Call each one? Nope. Busy. How???— robynsussel (@robynsussel) April 4, 2021
Hi, I’m in same situation. VCH site species this AZ rollout is by year of birth. Save On and Shoppers Drug Mart online systems allowed my registration (but not LD). Good luck.— Karen Spears (@SpearsKaren) April 6, 2021
SAME... also on the Rexall and London Drugs notification list (a week now) but no emails, calls or texts... some folks who hang-out at mentioned pharmacies prior to closing maybe lucky-enough to get pure-random happen-chance "Shot-In-The-Arm." #RightPlaceRightTime https://t.co/St4Sm16RCr— Mitch Thomas #RazorBladeSurfer (@MitchThomas15) April 7, 2021
So, if you booked online and you didn't receive an email, you don't have an appointment? Not very clear.— Janice Beley (@janicebeley) April 6, 2021
This map shows every pharmacy offering COVID-19 vaccines in Metro Vancouver
Of the initial pharmacies that are part of the pharmacy vaccine rollout, some locations may allow for drop-in service. You will be required to bring your Personal Health Number, located on your CareCard or BC Services Card.
The selection of pharmacies is updated regularly and more pharmacies may be added in the coming weeks.
With files from Nelson Bennett, Tyler Orton and Ian Jacques.