Local pharmacies receive Covid vaccine shipments

·2 min read

“If I could sum it up in one word, I’d say excitement,” says Bart Denie, pharmacy manager at Koegler’s Pharmasave in Pincher Creek. “We’re excited to be giving it, patients are excited to get it, and there’s lots of positivity.”

“It,” of course, refers to the Moderna vaccine. Finding positivity amid the Covid-19 pandemic has admittedly been tough this past year, but the gradual increase in immunizing the public illuminates the end of what has been a very long tunnel.

The Alberta government announced March 18 that 259 pharmacies across 107 communities are now offering the vaccine. Pharmacies initially signed up to help perform Covid-19 tests and are now registering to perform inoculations as part of the province’s plan to make a Covid-19 vaccine available to every Albertan who wants one by the end of June.

To date, more than 35,000 doses of vaccine have been administered. The number of pharmacies offering the vaccine is expected to reach up to 500 by the beginning of April and will increase as more vaccine doses arrive.

Koegler’s Pharmasave has begun scheduling appointments, as well as IDA Rx Drug Mart in Blairmore.

Ravi Sankhavara, the pharmacy manager at IDA Rx Drug Mart, says the pharmacy has wanted to be involved as much as possible in helping the community beat Covid-19. Being able to offer vaccines, he adds, is an exciting step in that journey.

“I don’t want people driving all the way to Calgary or Lethbridge or anywhere else,” Mr. Sankhavara says. “Rather, they can stay right within the community and get vaccinated. That’s a good thing for us.”

Pharmacies in Fort Macleod, Claresholm, Nanton, Vulcan, Picture Butte and Cardston will also be offering the vaccine.

Both Pincher Creek and Blairmore started receiving bookings for the vaccine earlier this week. With confirmed shipments of the vaccine, pharmacy staff are now working through the long list of names to schedule an immunization appointment.

The goal is to book each day with appointments lasting 15 minutes, allowing 30 to 40 people to get their vaccine per day.

Albertans born in 1956 or earlier can receive their immunization at pharmacies. First Nations, Métis and Inuit people born in 1971 or earlier are also eligible, as are staff and senior residents of licensed supportive-living facilities.

No walk-ins are permitted at pharmacies as appointments must be made to receive the vaccine.

Bookings can be made for IDA Rx Drug Mart by calling 403-562-2725; appointments at Koegler’s Pharmasave can be scheduled by phoning 403-627-4222.

Information on other booking options can be found online at http://bit.ly/AHS_vaccine or by calling Health Link at 811. A map of participating pharmacies in Alberta can be viewed online at http://bit.ly/pharmacy_map.

Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze