Hundreds line up at Ottawa Loblaws for chance to receive COVID-19 vaccine
OTTAWA -- A long line snaked around the Loblaws at College Square in Ottawa’s west end Monday morning, as residents hoped to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Hundreds of people lined up outside the store shortly after the Twitter account Vaccine Hunters Canada said the pharmacy at Loblaws was accepting walk-ins to receive the shot between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
“I was saying this is almost like getting in line for Justin Bieber tickets for your teenage kids,” said Julie Ryan, waiting in line to get the vaccine. “The golden ticket at the end of it.”
As of 8 a.m. Monday, the line stretched around Loblaws and extended down Baseline Road the length of the neighbouring Home Depot.
“We were up this morning getting ready, we were planning to leave at ten to 7 and at about a quarter to 7 we saw it was tweeted out on Vaccine Hunters so we said, ‘We gotta go now,” said Michael Collins. “As we drove up, every car coming down Baseline (Road) was turning in.”
There were approximately 100 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine available at the pharmacy Monday morning.
Some Ottawa pharmacies have reported having hundreds of people on waiting lists to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, but limited supply. Promed Pharmacy told CTV News Ottawa last Wednesday that 900 people were on the waiting list to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Ontario expanded the eligibility to receive the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine to residents aged 40 and over last week.
In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Loblaw, which operates both Loblaws and Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacies, said there is more demand than there are doses.
"In an effort help get shots in arms as quickly as possible, some pharmacies may opt to offer walk-ins, while continuing to book appointments for eligible patients, depending on the number of doses available and local demand," the statement said, in part. "Those who have appointments scheduled should follow the directions from the link (i.e. arrive 10 minutes early), and those still looking should contact their local store for availability and preferred booking method."