34 Ottawa pharmacies expected to receive COVID-19 vaccines after AstraZeneca doses arrive this week
OTTAWA -- Mayor Jim Watson is hoping you will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at an Ottawa pharmacy by the end of next week.
CTV News Ottawa has learned that Ottawa pharmacies will be included in the next round of vaccine distribution when the AstraZeneca doses arrive in Ontario from the United States.
Ontario Pharmacists Association CEO Justin Bates told CTV News Ottawa Sunday evening that 34 pharmacies are planned to participate in Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout in pharmacies, but that is subject to change as the plan is finalized. Bates added the Ontario government will announce the pharmacy locations once the AstraZeneca doses arrive and the onboarding process for the pharmacies is completed.
Canada is scheduled to receive 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine this coming week.
"The reality is that we've sent the province a list of about 143 pharmacies that are ready, willing and able to inject people with the doses of the vaccine and it's now up to the province to tell us how many pharmacies we'll be able to help out," said Watson during an interview on CTV News at Six with Christina Succi.
"We'd also like to see them with family physicians as well."
Watson sent a letter to the Ministry of Health on Wednesday, calling for Ottawa to be "urgently prioritized" in the pilot project allowing pharmacies to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.
The mayor said Saturday evening he's hoping to get needles in arms as quickly as possible.
"We're hoping that as a result of the federal government's announcement for the AstraZeneca doses coming in on Tuesday, my desire is to see those get distributed fairly, our seven per cent, sometime later in the week at the latest," said Watson.
On Friday, the mayor said Ottawa was not receiving its fair share of COVID-19 doses from the Ontario government.
"We want to ensure fairness across the province. While we recognize Toronto is a hotspot, we have hotspots within the city of Ottawa," Watson said during a media briefing.
Currently, only pharmacies in Kingston, Toronto and Windsor-Essex are administering the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is available for people 60 years of age or older.
Ottawa has received 133,440 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
VACCINE ROLLOUT IN THE NEXT TWO WEEKS
The Ontario Pharmacists Association is hopeful vaccines will be available in Ottawa pharmacies within the next seven to 14 days.
"We're excited to be involved in this. We need to get more accessibility, to your point. There’s a lot of demand, there’s a lot of challenges logistically," said Bates on Saturday.
"The quicker we can get all of the health care providers up and running with supply, then we hopefully get through these priority populations. We’ll get to a place where we’ll have herd immunity and that’s our collective goal."
Bates says it's an "exciting milestone" to rollout COVID-19 vaccines beyond pharmacies in Kingston, Toronto and Windsor-Essex.
"We've tried to get regional coverage so that there's rural, remote, urban and suburban," said Bates. "But also, we have clusters of pharmacies in areas where there's demand."
Bates told CTV News Ottawa that 34 pharmacies have been identified to administer the COVID-19 vaccines.
On Saturday, residents were looking forward to more options being available to get the shot.
"I want to be protected from any viruses that are coming out," said Mary Ann Stoddard.
"You look at our population, I know we're smaller than Toronto, but we're still the second-biggest city. They definitely should have the vaccines for I think everybody by now," said Kelly McLean.
Sandra Morris added, "I'm really looking forward to getting my vaccine as soon as I can."
With files from CTV News Ottawa's Graham Richardson.