‘That will be it for this moment,’ Dix says of AstraZeneca shortage on Vancouver Island


Pharmacies across Vancouver Island have run out of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and B.C.’s health minister says if you haven’t booked an appointment yet you’re out of luck — for now.

The shortage comes just days after people 40 and older became eligible to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine in pharmacies, announced on Monday by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

People like Heather McDonald have been phoning and emailing pharmacies to try to get the shot without success.

“Probably in the neighbourhood of 15 to 18 pharmacies that actually let you sign up,” she said. “It’s important to have so I’ll sign up as many times as it takes.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix said once a pharmacy is out of the vaccine, it’s hard to say when it will receive new supply.

“Once we’re out of AstraZeneca at the moment, that will be it for this moment in time,” he said Wednesday.

Dix admitted Vancouver Island hasn’t benefitted as much from AstraZeneca supply as other health authorities, but that’s because due to its relatively older population, the island has been receiving more doses of Pfizer and Moderna for the province’s age-based immunization plan.

There’s also hope that new supply could be coming.

The United States, which has already sent one-million doses to Canada, says it’s ready to send more.

“We helped a little bit there, we’re going to try to help a little bit more,” U.S. President Joe Biden said Wednesday.

Aside from AstraZeneca, the overall vaccine supply looks promising in the weeks ahead. More than three-million doses of Pfizer are expected to arrive in B.C. between now and July 4 — more than enough to cover the remaining 2.8-million or so eligible adults still waiting for their first shot.

There are also shipments of Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson vaccine scheduled for the weeks and months ahead.

But people like Heather McDonald, who haven’t been able to book their shot, are likely in for a wait — either until your age cohort is scheduled or more AstraZeneca arrives.

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April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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