Waterloo Region pharmacies regroup after switching out AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines
WATERLOO -- Pharmacies in Waterloo Region are readjusting their operations after switching from the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to MRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna.
Last week, the province announced the viral vector vaccine would no longer be offered as a first dose, which led to hundreds of cancelled appointments.
“I had my name on the list for the AstraZeneca and I didn’t get the call before they ran out,” said Jane Crawford, who ended up getting her vaccine Saturday. “I was kind of glad about that.”
The lack of supply in the province has led to many pharmacies not having vaccines in weeks, and regional pharmacies solely serving AstraZeneca have been left empty handed.
“A lot of those people were rescheduled,” said Patty Vamvakitis of Pharmasave Carriage Crossing. “Some of them managed to get vaccines either through Public Health at that time or other means.”
Carriage Crossing is now offering Moderna doses and rescheduling those who were set to receive AstraZeneca.
“Other people that were on our waiting list were called to make sure we were rostered up,” said Vamvakitis.
Pharmacist Pascal Niccoli at Conestoga Malle Shoppers Drug Mart is now offering the Pfizer vaccine.
“Pfizer is a little bit more of a challenge in terms of storage and stability,” she said. “It can require a little more time in terms of management, but we’ve had absolutely no trouble in the last few days.”
Niccoli adds that AstraZeneca demand was just as high as it is now, but some patients say they are happy to have missed that window.
“I think I would have done it, but even if it was that small risk of a blood clot, I think that would have weighed on me for the first few weeks after I got the vaccine,” said Crawford.
On Friday, most pharmacies in Waterloo Region received between 100-180 doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. For the most part, those will all be gone by the end of Saturday.
Pharmacists says they do not know when they will be receiving their next shipment, but Public Health has stated they are expecting a larger shipment to arrive sometime this week.