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Calm replaces chaos at Metro Vancouver pharmacies giving COVID-19 vaccines

Last Updated Apr 6, 2021 at 2:10 pm PDT

FILE - In this Monday, March 22, 2021 file photo, a member of the the medical staff prepares a syringe with the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, during preparations at the vaccine center in Ebersberg near Munich, Germany. German officials have decided to limit the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine in people under 60 after more unusual blood clots were reported in a small number of people who received the shots. Earlier this month, more than a dozen countries, including Germany, suspended their use of AstraZeneca over the blood clot issue. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, FIle)

Things appear to be operating much more smoothly at Metro Vancouver pharmacies taking COVID-19 vaccination bookings

Dozens of pharmacies in Metro Vancouver are tasked with administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged 55 to 65

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Week two of COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccines being offered at Metro Vancouver pharmacies appears to be a far smoother process than the first.

“Now that we know how many doses we’ve received, we can turn on our online booking system so that we can accommodate a certain number of doses,” said Mario Linaksita with University Pharmacy at UBC.

Last week, the pharmacy’s phone was ringing off the hook and it had hundreds of people on a handwritten waitlist, long before they even knew when the doses would arrive.

“The waitlist is already booked tomorrow through to Friday. Then Monday is when we are going to start doing the online booking system,” Linaksita said.

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This is the first week Willow Tree Pharmacy in Langley is giving doses.

“We’re hoping to get the shipment today or tomorrow and then we’ll set it up,” pharmacist Jignesh Misdry said Tuesday, noting they have not yet started administering doses.

Misdry says so far, customers are calm and cool about waiting for their online booking system to go live.

Last Tuesday, the province gave notice that bookings could be made starting the next day. But pharmacy chain London Drugs appeared to start taking bookings Tuesday evening, filling all available time slots.

More than 150 pharmacies in the Lower Mainland are tasked with administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged 55 to 65. Later this week, the province is expected to share information about which pharmacies beyond Metro Vancouver will be giving this vaccine to this age group.