Vaccine stocks have arrived at many pharmacies, including the Fort Royal Pharmacy in Victoria, as the COVID-19 booster program kicked off Tuesday across the province.
Pharmacist Pouya Eslami said vaccinations are prioritized for people older than 65 years, Indigenous people, and those with chronic health issues.
“Demand is high. I mean, we are getting questions, calls when it will be available. It is available right now as of October 10th onwards,” Eslami told CHEK News.
“But people are looking for it, and they are very aware of the fact that why they getting the vaccine nowadays.”
As of Oct. 10, booster shots are now available in pharmacies and some vaccination centres.
Demand will likely stay high with the flu shot also available at the same time.
At the Heart Pharmacy in Fairfield, pharmacist Lindsay Dixon said appointments are opening up, and more supply is on its way.
“Demand has been very, very high. At our clinics right now, they are fully booked. But that’s great because we have a lot of room opening up. And more supply coming,” Dixon said.
There is some confusion about how the program works.
If you’ve had a vaccination in the past, you are registered with the province’s Get Vaccinated program.
But you don’t have to wait for an invite, according to Dr. Brian Conway, medical director at the Vancouver Infectious Disease Centre.
“We need to make it as easy as possible for people to be vaccinated. The many clinics, the one thousand or so pharmacies that are slated to be part of this program, people should be able to walk in and get a shot,” Conway said.
In September, Health Canada approved Moderna and Pfizer’s new vaccines, targeting the Omicron variant of concern.
And there is more than enough supply to go around.
“I’m concerned that if someone shows up at a pharmacy, thinking the program has started, and they are refused vaccination that they may not necessarily come back. So let’s try and all pull together here and get the shots out here. And get them into the arms of people who want them,” added Conway.
The latest figures from the BC Centre for Disease Control indicate the number of people in hospitals due to COVID-19 is up 58 per cent.
The vaccine is available at more than 1,300 pharmacies across B.C.