The Interior Health Authority (IHA) revealed Thursday that all doses of the AstraZeneca COVISHIELD COVID-19 vaccine received in the B.C. Interior have been administered, and there is no timeline on when the region could receive additional shipments.
Dozens of pharmacies in the B.C. Interior are eligible to distribute the vaccine and people have been lining up to get a shot in the arm.
“The doses that Interior Health has received have all been administered,” said Karen Bloemink, interim vice-president of Pandemic Response and Surgical Strategy.
“We have had very excellent uptake of the AstraZeneca vaccine that we did receive and when the time comes we will be keen to receive more.”
On Monday, B.C. lowered its age limit for the AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged 40-plus.
The province had received 75,000 doses from the U.S. to be distributed to AstraZeneca clinics in communities with the highest rates of transmission, in addition to the pharmacy-based program.
Most of the specialized clinics are located on the Lower Mainland. None are in the Okanagan region.
As of April 14, 114,171 doses have been administered, including 91,000 through pharmacies.
Approximately 88,000 remain in the system across 604 pharmacies in B.C, the province said.
“At this stage we don’t know,” said Dr. Albert de Villiers, Interior Health’s chief medical health officer, on when the region could receive its next shipment of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“We are aware that we are potentially getting some more for the province. At this stage, it is being focused on the Lower Mainland because they do have more cases than us and higher rates and more hospitalizations,” he said.
Residents who have contacted Global News say they have been hard-pressed to find an Okanagan pharmacy still offering appointments. Most are on waitlists.
In Kelowna, Costco, Loblaws, London Drugs, Pharamsave, and Save-on-Foods pharmacies are eligible to distribute the vaccine.
London Drugs was the only chain that returned inquiries made by Global News.
“London Drugs has added 27 locations in British Columbia providing the AstraZeneca vaccine for a total of 47 pharmacies administering vaccine across the province,” said spokesperson Cynnamon Schreinert in an email.
“With the new age group of those born in 1981 or earlier able to book vaccines online, we have seen an increase in demand. The interest from British Columbians has exceeded the number of vaccines we have been provided and most locations now have a waitlist for the vaccine.”
Eligible pharmacies can be found on the British Columbia Pharmacy Association’s website.