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Metro Vancouverites 55-65 scrambling to get COVID-19 vaccines at pharmacies

Last Updated Apr 6, 2021 at 10:08 am PDT

Medical staff prepares an AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine during preparations at the vaccine center in Ebersberg near Munich, Germany, Monday, March 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Vaccination appointments at many Metro Vancouver pharmacies booked up, a day after province announcement

Vancouver pharmacy has hundreds of people on waitlist for 100 COVID-19 shots

AstraZeneca vaccine available to people aged 55 to 65 in Metro Vancouver

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – COVID-19 vaccination appointments at many Metro Vancouver pharmacies for people aged 55 to 65 are booked up, many before the program officially started Wednesday morning.

Mario Linaksita with University Pharmacy by UBC says he’s over-run with requests. He says it’s been chaotic, with hundreds of people on a waitlist for just 100 doses.

Since yesterday, there have been countless walk-ins and the phone has been ringing relentlessly.

“Ringing non stop,” he described. “The news article came out and people started calling right away.”

The pharmacy’s website is not up yet, as they only were informed late last night how many doses were coming and they haven’t arrived yet.

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Janice Meehan was up in the middle of the night, trying book a spot.

“I started looking and I put myself on waiting lists. I’m on about eight waiting lists,” she said.

Meehan is frustrated, but is trying to relax, saying she knows her time will come.

“I could get frustrated really easy because I really want to play more with my grandsons,” she said.

“I’m trying to be reasonable,” she added, saying she’s happy so many people are looking to get vaccinated.

More than 150 pharmacies in the Lower Mainland are tasked with administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged 55 to 65.

On Tuesday, the province gave notice that bookings could be made starting Wednesday. But it appears pharmacy chain London Drugs started taking bookings right away, filling all available time slots by Tuesday night and asking people to stop calling its pharmacies directly.

While there was some frustration online, one expert sees a silver lining.

“There’s so much concern about how there’s been an erosion of public trust with this vaccine, with lots of mixed messaging and communication gaps and then a rare but not zero per cent safety issue, so it is good to hear that there are people who are willing to get this vaccine in the 55-plus age group,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases scientist at the University of Toronto.

With files from Mike Lloyd and Hana Mae Nassar