Select BC Interior pharmacies now administering AstraZeneca vaccine for those aged 55-65

Surprise AZ vaccine launch

Rob Gibson

Health officials under criticism for the pace of vaccine administration in the province pulled off a pleasant surprise heading into the weekend.

The Pharmasave in downtown Kelowna found out they were going to receive 400 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday night, and by Friday morning, they were injecting doses into arms.

One of the downtown Pharmasave owners, Leanne Misfeldt, tells Castanet they were selected based on their past proven ability to deliver a high quantity of flu vaccines.

"We just got a call from IH telling us that we have been given 400 doses but there wasn't much more information shared," Misfeldt said.

Pharmacist and part owner Brett Federko says they will be doing about 40 doses a day and the uptake was very fast.

"Of all the doses we received every single one of them is booked up now," Federko says.

Misfeldt says they have two pharmacists on staff and they are encouraging residents between the ages of 55-65 to sign up for an appointment online.

"This is really good news for our community," says Misfeldt.

The British Columbia Pharmacy Association has a complete list of the pharmacies in B.C that are offering the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Castanet's own Wayne Moore was one of the first to sign up for the vaccine online Friday morning and by Friday afternoon he had received his first dose.

"I'm feeling really grateful," says Moore.

The one concern Federko says he gets asked about the most is the safety of the vaccine.

"Everyone has to evaluate their own risk tolerance. There are frightening associations when you hear the word blood clot, especially in the brain, but you have to keep in perspective how many cases there have been compared to how many people have been immunized," Federko said.

"Eighty plus cases compared to more than 25 million worldwide who have been given this vaccine. I think the risk is exceptionally low."

Moore says, "I guess you are always a little nervous when you're getting a vaccination of some sort. I'm very glad that the program has been made available to us up here in the Interior as well."

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