At least 3 Waterloo region pharmacies likely to receive AstraZeneca vaccines this week, province says

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At least 3 Waterloo region pharmacies likely to receive AstraZeneca vaccines this week, province says


KITCHENER – At least three pharmacies located in the Waterloo region will likely receive their first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine this week, provincial officials said on Tuesday.
Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said there are plans to expand the pharmacy vaccination program to 300 more locations this week, with at least three locations in each health unit.

“We don’t have the vaccine yet, but pharmacies are lined up,” Jones told reporters at the press conference. “As we continue to see expansions of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will continue to expand the pharmacy deployment. But, we have a lot of pharmacies who are very enthusiastic and can’t wait to bring this AstraZeneca to their patients. ”

Dr Kelly Grindrod, associate professor at the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy, said the locations have yet to be confirmed to the public. However, she said pharmacies are probably already working on training on how to administer the vaccine.

“As part of that role, they also need to be operational,” said Grindrod.

According to Grindrod, the expansion of the pharmacy program depends entirely on the amount of vaccine available.

“The supply will likely dictate, in part, how many pharmacies on the potential Waterloo Region pharmacy list will or will not receive the vaccine,” she said.

Grindrod said the supply will likely be directed to COVID-19 hotspots in the region.

“Pharmacies are chosen across the province to match the areas that need the vaccine,” said Grindrod. “The areas where there are more cases and areas of concern will hopefully see that the first pharmacies on the list that will be supplied will be in the areas that need it most.

Toronto pharmacies began administering COVID-19 vaccines in Toronto as part of a pilot program earlier this month. Grindrod said the pilot was not including pharmacies in high-risk areas.

“It was a lesson learned in the pilot that seems to be addressed in this next phase,” she said. “They will find pharmacies or start with pharmacies located in some of the areas where vaccines are the most demanding.”

Ontario followed national guidelines for the AstraZeneca vaccine, discontinuing use in people under the age of 55.

“It’s great caution,” Grindrod said. “We have not had any of these cases in Canada in people who have received this vaccine. ”

Earlier this year, officials offered AstraZeneca only to people aged 60 to 64. Grindrod said early research did not test the vaccine on older people, but Canada approved its use in people over 65 earlier this month.

Grindrod said all vaccines approved for use in Canada, including AstraZeneca, are very effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalizations and death.

Grindrod also said tensions around vaccine distribution are unlikely to be resolved until supplies are increased in Ontario and across Canada.

“We struggled to get vaccinated,” she said. “We’ve finally figured it out now, but when you start not doing enough and spreading it, no matter what, it’ll never feel right to you.”

Waterloo region health officials said on Tuesday that people between the ages of 60 and 69 can now pre-register for a vaccine.

The vaccine task force said more than 10% of the population had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

With reporting by Nicole Lampa of CTV News Kitchener

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