Vaccine uptake at P.E.I. pharmacies 'very good'

·2 min read
Pharmacists are encouraging people to get their second dose to get the full benefit of the vaccine. (Nicole Williams/CBC - image credit)
Pharmacists are encouraging people to get their second dose to get the full benefit of the vaccine. (Nicole Williams/CBC - image credit)

The P.E.I. Pharmacists Association says uptake of the COVID-19 vaccines at pharmacies across the Island has been "very good" over the last few weeks.

On June 23, 14 additionally pharmacies offering the Moderna vaccine were added to the list of pharmacies offering shots, bringing the province-wide total to 26.

Erin MacKenzie, executive director of the P.E.I. Pharmacists Association, said having more touch points from Tignish to Souris makes accessing the vaccine more convenient.

"The uptake has been very, very good to date," said MacKenzie. "We've seen our regular clients that are looking to get vaccinated. We've also seen some of the tourists that are looking to be vaccinated."

MacKenzie said anyone, including people visiting the province, can be vaccinated at an Island pharmacy. But she said people are encouraged to make an appointment ahead of time using the province's online booking tool, to help manage the supply and keep people safe.

As of July 3, 116,959 people had received one dose of the vaccine, amounting to 83.2 per cent of people aged 12 and up, according to figures from the provincial government. It said 37,030 people had received two doses, or 26.3 per cent of people aged 12 and up. Those numbers include vaccines given at pharmacies and at immunization clinics.

Second dose 'very important'

MacKenzie said while she is encouraged by the number of people getting their first dose, it's very important that those people follow up and get their second dose.

"That second dose will be very important to ensure the benefits reach their maximum from vaccination but also that those benefits last," she said.

MacKenzie said the supply of Moderna coming into the province has been very good, which makes booking appointments more predictable, but also it has enabled the province to expand the vaccination program to pharmacies across P.E.I.

She said there are currently no plans to bring in Pfizer-BioNTech because the Moderna vaccine supply is sufficient and the vaccines are deemed equivalent and interchangeable.

MacKenzie added that there are still AstraZeneca-Oxford doses available at select pharmacies in the province.

She said while it's not recommended by public health to be received as a first dose, there is still a need for it, including for someone who has had a reaction to a different vaccine but still requires a second dose.

That shipment of AstraZeneca-Oxford does not expire until late fall, she said.

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