Earlier this month, more than a dozen countries suspended their use of AstraZeneca over the blood clot issue. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, FIle)

Earlier this month, more than a dozen countries suspended their use of AstraZeneca over the blood clot issue. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, FIle)

Vaccine demand at Langley pharmacies remains high

29 local pharmacies are offering AstraZeneca

After an “unorganized” start, owners of two Brookswood pharmacies say the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine being offered at local pharmacies is now going “very smooth.”

Last week the provincial government invited those between the ages of 55 to 65 to call their local pharmacy and book an appointment to receive an AstraZeneca vaccine.

But owners of Brookswood Remedy’sRx pharmacies Shrief Ahmed and Ahmed Zaiton said the communication with businesses wasn’t quite as clear.

“I just wish the government and the College [of Pharmacists of B.C.] had contacted us first,” Ahmed told the Langley Advance Times last week.

READ MORE: From now on, all COVID-19 cases in B.C. presumed to be more infectious variants: Henry

The pair filled all appointments 30 minutes after flipping the open sign on March 31 for the 100 doses they were expecting to receive later that same day.

“We were between both stores,” Zaiton recalled. “We had the same issues. It was chaotic and overwhelming because of the short notice.”

“There were tons of people calling the pharmacy every five minutes.”

Canada joined other nations in stopping the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine on anyone younger than 55 due to the uncertainty around blood clot issues.

The urgency for pharmacies to administer the vaccine came as this batch was set to expire at midnight on Friday, Ahmed explained.

This week, the two Brookswood pharmacies – located at 20103 40th Ave. and 4061 200th St. – received double the number of AstraZeneca doses from the province. Once the latest batch arrived, the pharmacists began calling those on the wait list to schedule their appointment.

“Between both locations we were able to [vaccinate] about 70 to 80 people [on Tuesday],” Zaiton said.

With a wait list of more than 300 people, he said the demand remains high.

The pair expects to administer their remaining inventory of vaccine by the end of this week.

Zaiton isn’t sure when the next shipment of supply will arrive but encouraged those eligible to join the wait list.

“We don’t deter people from calling, and leaving their name and number,” he said.

As of Thursday there were 29 pharmacies in Langley offering the AstraZeneca vaccine, a total of 488 in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions.

For a complete list of participating pharmacies visit www.bcpharmacy.ca/resource-centre/covid-19//vaccination-locations.


@JotiGrewal_
joti.grewal@blackpress.ca

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