PEI

COVID-19 vaccines for Islanders 18-29 spoken for in Charlottetown, Montague

Prince Edward Island opened up COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone 18 to 29 years old who works with the public but some people are discovering the shots are tricky to come by.

'I tried, but it was all busy. There was none left'

Evan Watts, 21, says he started calling around Tuesday to book an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine, but his options were limited. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Prince Edward Island opened up COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone 18 to 29 years old who works with the public but some people are discovering the shots are tricky to come by. 

The province made the announcement Tuesday and already three of the six pharmacies administering those doses said they have no more to go around. 

"It's disappointing," said Evan Watts, a 21-year-old cleaner at a Charlottetown hotel. "I tried, but it was all busy. There was none left."

Appointments could initially be made in Charlottetown and Montague. Now, however, Watts' only option is a trip west to Kensington, Summerside, or O'Leary.

"It's kind of a long drive. I have no transportation," he said. 

"There's not enough vaccine to go around. But I understand where everyone's coming from."

'A good news story'

On P.E.I., pharmacies received 2,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine. So far, more than half of those have been used. 

"It's a good news story because we have that much interest in that age category in getting vaccinated," said Marion Dowling, P.E.I.'s chief of nursing. 

"So that's great news. We also know we have more AstraZeneca coming to the province."

'The ones that are saying they're out, are either all booked at present, or they've already been administered,' says Erin MacKenzie, the executive director of the P.E.I. Pharmacists Association. (Laura Chapin/CBC)

However, when those doses will arrive and how much can be expected remains a question. 

"Pharmacies are hesitant to go ahead and book in advance when we're not exactly sure.… We don't want people to be disappointed," said Erin MacKenzie, the executive director or the P.E.I. Pharmacists Association.

"But we know that within the next two to four weeks, I think you're going to see the number of vaccines available and appointments available is going to be quite substantial."

'I'll keep trying'

According to MacKenzie, discussions have taken place about potentially moving vaccine supply to the more popular locations to keep up with demand. 

"That's the way we manage our flu shot supply as well," she said. 

'I want it to protect everyone else on the Island and around the world, so we can get back to normal as soon as possible,' Watts says. (Steve Bruce/CBC )

For those 18- to 29-year-olds eager to get vaccinated but unable to snag an appointment, MacKenzie said there will be more opportunities. 

"Try again next week. Once we know when the supply is to land in the province, those spots will open up again, and people will be able to start booking." 

As for 21-year-old Watts, he said he plans to do just that. 

"I'll probably just wait and see what happens. I'll keep trying until I can get one," he said. 

"I want it to protect everyone else on the Island and around the world, so we can get back to normal as soon as possible."

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Steve Bruce

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