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Lethbridge pharmacies discuss COVID-19 vaccine availability, 2nd doses

Click to play video: 'Albertans can get 2nd COVID-19 immunization at ‘different approved site’ than initial shot: AHS' Albertans can get 2nd COVID-19 immunization at ‘different approved site’ than initial shot: AHS
WATCH ABOVE: As Albertans 12 and older begin getting their COVID-19 vaccinations, others are wondering when they can expect to receive their second jab. Eloise Therien spoke with Alberta Health Services and local pharmacies to find out how and when Albertans might be able to complete their immunizations. – May 11, 2021

As of 8 a.m. on Monday, Albertans over the age of 12 were given the green light to book their COVID-19 immunizations at either Alberta Health Services’ vaccination sites or a participating pharmacy.

According to some Lethbridge pharmacies, there have been some discrepancies when it comes to vaccine supply.

Potential surplus of Moderna

Vishal Sukhadiya, pharmacist and owner of The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy South, said his pharmacy’s shipments of the Moderna vaccine — which is approved for anyone over 18 — have increased dramatically, making his business’ operation run much more smoothly.

The pharmacy is averaging 80 to 100 appointments per day following a delivery.

“We used to get, like, 100 doses every two weeks,” Sukhadiya said. “Now it looks like we are getting 200 to 400 doses every week.

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“Looks like the way supply has been lately, I think second dose is just around the corner.”

Read more: Alberta stops giving 1st doses of AstraZeneca vaccine due to lack of supply

While his pharmacy’s supply is currently in line with demand, Sukhadiya said some individuals in their 20s and 30s are hesitant to get their shot, which could mean a surplus of doses in the near future.

“About 20 per cent of our clients — our own clients in that age group — they do not want to get a vaccine,” he said. “We already phoned them, but nope.

“I am anticipating that for the first dose, the supply will be a lot more than the demand in the next two weeks.”

Waiting on Pfizer

Norbridge Pharmacy also administers COVID-19 vaccines. However, its situation is slightly different.

Pharmacist Rhea Edrosolan, who has been working at Norbridge for the last seven years, told Global News she hasn’t been able to administer any Pfizer vaccines to the newly eligible age group.

Pfizer has been approved for anyone over the age of 12.

According to Edrosolan, Norbridge is waiting on a shipment of around 120 doses to arrive either Wednesday or Thursday before taking bookings.

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The mid-week arrival adds an element of difficulty, due to reduced weekend hours and needing to administer the shots within a certain timeline.

“It would have been nice to get more and to get the shipping at the start of the week,” she explained.

“The problem is we’re getting it in the middle of the week and we only have five days to get it all done.”

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan not using AstraZeneca as ‘first-dose strategy’ due to supply, looking at options for 2nd dose' Saskatchewan not using AstraZeneca as ‘first-dose strategy’ due to supply, looking at options for 2nd dose
Saskatchewan not using AstraZeneca as ‘first-dose strategy’ due to supply, looking at options for 2nd dose – May 11, 2021

Although she doesn’t think it likely, Edrolsolan said in the event first-dose appointments can’t all be filled, they are considering those who need their second dose.

“We are taking names for (people) who are eligible for the second dose, just in case we do have a cancellation and we can’t get anybody to come in for their first dose. Then at least we have that fallback name to go to just in case.”

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Getting your second dose somewhere else

According to Alberta Health Services, all COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada will be provided to residents of the province within a four-month timeline between the first and second dose. AHS added that there is no requirement for people to book both of the immunizations at the same location.

“After receiving a first dose of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine at an Alberta Health Services (AHS) immunization site or participating pharmacy, you can get your second dose from a different approved source,” an emailed statement read.

“We ask that you bring your proof of immunization/immunization record to the second appointment.”

As of May 10, a total of 1,947,004 doses had been administered, with 319,779 Albertans receiving both doses.

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