Inside an Orleans pharmacy's vaccine rollout
OTTAWA -- As the province gets set to ramp up its vaccine rollout in pharmacies across Ontario this week, one Rexall location in Orléans says its process has so far been "seamless" for most people 55 and older wanting to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
"Since last Monday our first batch we received around 300 doses and they were gone within two days," said Bashir Amir, the practice lead for Rexall in Eastern Ontario. "We are booking every five minutes because in this way as soon as we receive the vaccine, we get them to the arms."
Kim Wallace was one of several people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine at the pharmacy on Orléans Boulevard Tuesday. She said the shot represents "a positive future ahead, being able to see my mother and family and maybe travel again."
Wallace registered for the vaccine using the pharmacy's online portal. Once appointments are available, Amir said people will receive links that will let them book a particular day and time and appointments are only given out if there's enough supply.
"It was quite easy, it was very user friendly and I didn't have any issues with it at all," Wallace said.
Right now those 55+ can get the COVID-19 vaccine at 34 pharmacies in Ottawa. The province is adding 79 more locations in the city this week, although the exact date that each pharmacy will start offering shots will depend on when they receive shipments of the vaccine.
The rollout hasn't been smooth for everyone, with some reporting issues with the Shoppers Drug Mart portal.
In a statement, the company said "Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaw pharmacies are still using the online booking system for COVID vaccinations, however in general we have more demand than we have doses. As appointments become available, we are contacting those who have already registered through the online system or via phone for stores with more urgent availability. We understand customer frustration with the delays and we are hopeful that we will be able to get to most registered customers at some point over the next week. Customers can also book appointments over the phone."