B.C. pharmacies seeing cancelled vaccine appointments after new AstraZeneca guidance
VANCOUVER -- Some people are cancelling their vaccine appointments at B.C. pharmacies after new guidance was issued for AstraZeneca.
Azmina Jiwa is the owner of Bonsor Pharmacy in Burnaby. She says “some people have cancelled” their second-dose appointments “and a few are undecided.”
That’s something also being seen at London Drugs.
“We did have some people cancel their appointment, but not a significant number,” said Chris Chiew, general manager of pharmacy for London Drugs.
The cancellations come after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) changed its guidance. On Thursday, the committee announced it is now recommending that people who received a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine receive a second dose of an mRNA vaccine, such as Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.
So far, B.C.’s guidance has not changed. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry stressed Thursday that “two doses of whatever vaccine you receive are safe and effective."
The mixed messaging is causing confusion.
Horacio Bach is a clinical assistant professor with the division of infectious diseases at UBC. He says there was no need for the committee to issue the new guidance.
“I think it was an unnecessary confusion to do that,” Bach said, adding when it comes to efficacy, AstraZeneca’s is extremely high.
“Recent studies released from the U.K. show the effectivity is 85 to 90 per cent, so it’s very close to the Pfizer (vaccine’s efficacy),” he said.
Both Jiwa and Chiew say despite the confusion, people are still making appointments for second AstraZeneca shots. London Drugs is even planning to ramp up the rollout beyond the 20 locations currently offering vaccines.
“We’re hoping that all the stores that we have in B.C., all the locations will be able to offer second doses, but it also depends on supply too,” Chiew said.