Pharmacies beginning to receive vaccine bookings from 55+ group

Twelve pharmacies across P.E.I. are preparing for next week when they will begin to administer the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine for Islanders 55 and over.

AstraZeneca being offered at 12 pharmacies next week

Canada's vaccine advisory committee does not recommend giving the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to anybody under 55 years old. (Andrew Couldridge/Reuters)

Twelve pharmacies across P.E.I. are preparing to administer the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine for Islanders 55 and over next week.

That's double the number of pharmacies that were initially involved when the 18 to 29 age group was targeted, before that program was put on pause.

Erin MacKenzie, executive director of the P.E.I. Pharmacists Association, said bookings for pharmacy appointments have already started in some locations, with all expected to be setting them up by Thursday.

When pharmacies first started offering the vaccines, there were only a couple thousand doses available across the Island, so spreading it out just didn't make sense, she said.

But now there are roughly 6,800 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine available, and that is being provided exclusively through pharmacies at this time.

"Because of the numbers and because of the fact that we really want to get everyone immunized as quickly as possible, that offering has now been expanded to 12 pharmacies from one end of the Island to the other," MacKenzie said.

"And I've heard even this morning that many are getting the call, 'When can I book my appointment?'"

The vaccine will be distributed to the pharmacies over the weekend with the first shots administered Monday. 

Islanders 55 and over have a choice of getting the AstraZeneca vaccine at pharmacies, or they can book appointments starting next week for the other two vaccines offered through the provincial mass immunization clinics. It will take longer to get a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

Meanwhile, The European Union's drug regulator has found a possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and a rare blood clotting disorder.

However, it says the benefits still outweigh the risks, and there is no need to place restrictions on the vaccine.

Canada's vaccine advisory committee does not recommend giving the AstraZeneca vaccine to anybody under 55 years old.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Angela Walker


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