Pharmacies, clinics dealing with surging demand for COVID-19 shots

·1 min read
'I just think it's a wise thing to do,' says Janet O'Neill about receiving her latest dose of COVID-19 vaccine last week.  (Steve Bruce/CBC - image credit)
'I just think it's a wise thing to do,' says Janet O'Neill about receiving her latest dose of COVID-19 vaccine last week. (Steve Bruce/CBC - image credit)

A surge in demand for COVID-19 boosters is presenting challenges for P.E.I.'s vaccination clinics and pharmacies.

A fourth shot has been available to Islanders 12 and older for two weeks, and appointments at Health P.E.I. clinics and pharmacies are filling up fast.

Like many other workplaces, pharmacies are seeing a lot of people out with COVID-19, which is limiting how many vaccine appointments can be opened up, said Erin MacKenzie, executive director of the P.E.I. Pharmacists Association.

"We're really trying to make sure we are meeting the demand. And I think over the coming weeks, more appointments will open up now that we know there's increased demand. Pharmacies are trying to do that, as much as staffing levels will allow."

After scaling down its vaccine clinics in recent months, Health P.E.I. is now seeing a surge in demand. A spokesperson said given staffing challenges, clinics may have to call on retired nurses to help administer shots, as they did earlier in the pandemic.

'Wise thing to do'

Janet O'Neill was relieved to get her latest booster shot recently, especially with COVID-19 cases on the rise.

"I just think it's a wise thing to do. The vaccines, a lot of them are wearing off. And I'll take whatever I can get in terms of vaccines and boosters."

MacKenzie said it's "fantastic" people like O'Neill are eager to get boosted, and pharmacies will open more appointments where they can.

"If there's only one pharmacist there, it's very tricky for them to look after the duties they already had on their books."

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