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Sault pharmacies run out of AstraZeneca vaccine

Pharmasave West End owner hoping for another shipment in two weeks
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Two Sault pharmacies have exhausted their supply of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, with no clear picture of when they will receive more, or how many doses.

“We were supposed to receive an order last week, but then we got a message that we weren’t getting any,” said Jordan Jack, Pharmasave West End owner/pharmacist, speaking to SooToday Thursday.

“Now, because there is no more AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada as far as I’m aware, they (suppliers) can’t send me doesn’t appear as if it’s here, or if it’s going to be in Canada within the next couple of weeks.”

Jack said Pharmasave West End administered 600 AstraZeneca shots in the first shipment, which came from the U.S.

“We finished up the last little bit of it on Tuesday. We did the 600 over three weeks. We’re hoping when we get this other bundle from the United States that we’ll be up and rolling again,” Jack said.

The pharmacist said there is a group of stores in the GTA conducting a pilot project to see if the Pfizer vaccine can be administered at pharmacies (as there are vaccine refrigeration requirements involved).

“If things go according to what they’re hoping, then we’ll be able to do the Pfizer vaccine too. But at this point, without any ability to keep it stable, we can’t do that vaccine yet,” Jack said.

At least 50 per cent of all vaccines are being sent to COVID hot spots (such as the GTA), Jack said.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is currently not available at Loblaws pharmacy located within Rome’s Your Independent Grocer.

“We received 200 doses at the very beginning of April and we went through all of those doses in a couple of days. We have no word when we will be getting more or how many more we will be getting,” said Taryn Reid, Loblaws pharmacist.

“We haven’t been told by the Ministry of Health when we will be getting more. We’re just waiting. They’ll just ship them to us when they’re available to us.”

Those interested in booking an appointment at Pharmasave West End for when the next shipment of AstraZeneca arrives are asked to sign up online at the Westend Walk-in Clinic website.

Reid said the Loblaws pharmacy, at present, is not taking a list of people wishing to book a vaccination appointment, and is urging the public to book an appointment through the Algoma Public Health website for now.

Reid said the pharmacy at Rome’s will make an announcement to the public when the next shipment of AstraZeneca arrives and will provide instructions as to how to book a vaccination appointment.

Three pharmacies have been brought on board to deliver the AstraZeneca vaccine in the area (Rome’s and the west end Pharmasave location in Sault Ste. Marie as well as Shoppers Drug Mart in Elliot Lake).

The province intends to eventually have all pharmacies which normally administer flu shots deliver COVID-19 vaccines, said Dr. Jennifer Loo, Algoma Public Health (APH) medical officer of health and CEO, addressing the APH board at its regular monthly meeting held virtually Wednesday.

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Darren Taylor

About the Author: Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor is a news reporter and photographer in Sault Ste Marie. He regularly covers community events, political announcements and numerous board meetings. With a background in broadcast journalism, Darren has worked in the media since 1996.
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