A Vancouver woman found herself on the surprise end of a COVID-19 vaccination on Friday, during what was meant to be a routine trip to the grocery store.
Susan Leroux said she’d gone to the Real Canadian Superstore to pick up a few things when she went by the pharmacy kiosk to ask about the process to get on the waitlist for the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“And she said to me, actually we had a no-show so you can get it now,” Leroux said.
“I said to myself, ‘I’m here, let’s do it.'”
Leroux said she had to show ID proving she was between the ages of 55 and 65 years old.
The pharmacist, she said, told her that any leftover doses are given out to people who are present and eligible at the end of the day.
However, in a statement, the B.C. Ministry of Health said the province’s policy is not to distribute extra doses this way.
“Rather than discard doses, the vaccine will be delivered to local hospitals at the end of each day to use for patients who are eligible in the current age cohort, or people prioritized for early vaccinations or health-care workers,” it said.
Superstore, however, does not appear to be the only pharmacy distributing extra doses on a first-come-first-served basis.
On Friday, another Twitter user posted that the Surrey Costco they were at was offering expiring doses to walk-in customers aged 55 to 65 years old.
The province had initially intended to use its supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine to immunize teachers, child-care workers and first responders, however, those plans were suspended as a precaution as the province investigated reports of blood clots in a small number of younger adults.
The remaining supplies were then re-directed to members of the general public aged 55-65 years old, outside of the main age-based vaccine rollout.
The province says it expects to have more information on AstraZeneca safety in the coming days, and could potentially resume its plans for priority rollout.