ARNPRIOR -- Pharmacists in Ontario are reporting troubles with the patient data tracking system called "COVaxON."

At Excellent Care Pharmacy in Arnprior, owner Kassem Rouiha says he is able to vaccinate 30 people in a seven-hour shift when he has supply, but it could be much high than that if it weren’t for COVaxON.

"Here we have to process the claim through OHIP and COVaxON," explains Rouiha. "COVaxON is around 15 to 20 minutes. Again after the patient leaves we have to process the claim through OHIP, another 10 minutes. So literally each patient, 30 minutes."

It’s a process the pharmacy owner says he has heard from others in his position, and is too lengthy for a shot that takes seconds.

"Get the vaccine in the arm, get it done quick and fast. We have the tools, but we don’t have the right application," said Rouiha.

The Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA) says it’s a problem they are aware of.

"I definitely think the amount of time spent on administration is much higher than anything we have done in the previous programs we have been apart of," says OPA CEO Justin Bates, who admits the data entry is slowing down the process.

"It’s so the government knows exactly who got vaccinated, and where and when."

Rouiha proposes administering the vaccines in the same fashion as the flu shot is given. But unfortunately Bates says the process just isn’t that simple.

"This isn’t the flu season, it’s more complex," explains Bates. "You have two doses that you need to administer and you have inventory that needs to match that based on who received the first dose."

OPA says participating pharmacies receive roughly 150 doses per week, with up to 2,500 pharmacies receiving mRNA vaccines by the end of the month. With vaccine demand at its highest currently, Bates says they are working to speed up the COVaxON system.

"We have proposed different mechanisms to try and integrate the systems so that we are not putting information into three different systems.”

Bates says it will take a bit of back end programming, but the goal is to keep the vaccines rolling out.

"We do think there are ways to streamline it, make it more efficient, and have the focus on the front line more less about data entry and more about shots in arms."