B.C. pharmacies preparing to help administer COVID-19 vaccines across the province
VANCOUVER -- B.C. pharmacies are gearing up to administer COVID-19 vaccines as distribution increases across the province.
On Thursday, health officials announced pharmacies are being added to the list of locations delivering COVID-19 vaccine doses as supply increases.
Earlier this month, Health Minister Adrian Dix said pharmacies weren't involved in distribution yet due to a limited supply of fridge-stable vaccines. Most of the doses distributed to date – the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines – require sub-zero storage.
With shipments of AstraZeneca arriving in the province and Johnson and Johnson doses expected to come, those storage requirements are shifting.
"Obviously there (are) real advantages in using community pharmacies for our fridge-stable vaccines," Dix said earlier in the week.
The B.C. Pharmacy Association said in a news release Thursday it's ready to help with distribution immediately.
"The next steps will be working with the health ministry, health authorities and our members to determine logistics, the vaccines, and their supply in a manner that ensures the most efficient and effective delivery of vaccines to the most patients in the shortest time possible," a statement from the BCPA says.
London Drugs says its chain of B.C. stores is also preparing for vaccine rollout in the province.
"We are ready to assist in British Columbia however we can to immunize people quickly, safely and according to the government’s phased distribution approach," said Chris Chiew, general manager of pharmacy at London Drugs, in a news release.
"For now that means sending our pharmacists out into the community to reach the most vulnerable including care homes and mass worksites.”
London Drugs' statement says when vaccines are available to the general public, the company will launch an online booking system where people can make an appointment. The province is also creating an online booking system, which is scheduled to launch on April 6.
Along with pharmacies, doses will also distributed at mass vaccination clinics across the province.