'Hundreds of openings' still available for AstraZeneca vaccine at pharmacies in Windsor-Essex
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Fifty-seven pharmacies across Windsor-Essex are providing the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to residents aged 60 to 64, with some locations still stocked with hundreds of doses that must be used by the end of March.
Tim Brady, the owner of Brady’s Drug Stores in Essex and Belle River says they’re going through it quickly since the pilot program was launched last week, with people are cycling through appointments every 10 minutes.
“We did approximately 62 shots in a day, so 62 more people vaccinated than they were earlier in the day,” Brady says.
“If every store does 40 injections a day, we’re doing a little over 2,000 extra injections a day that weren’t getting done on a daily basis,” says Brady. “This way, we can pick off little groups of people, and little numbers add up to bigger numbers when you get them all together.”
The same goes for Shoppers Drug Mart, where pharmacists in Toronto, Kingston and Windsor-Essex have already vaccinated more than 28,000 Ontarians. Some locations are already reporting they’ve run out of supply.
At this pace — Brady says the 30,000 doses of the vaccine provided to this region will likely run out in the coming weeks.
“I still have several hundred openings, and I know a lot of other stores in the county are the same thing,” Brady says.
To help in the effort, a geospatial data analyst at the University of Windsor is giving people the information they need about where to get the shot — in the form of an app.
That app is available without downloading anything. All you have to do is click on the website provided, which lists the various pharmacy locations locally where vaccines are available.
“It will show you the address, phone number, operating hours and a link to website,” says Carina Luo, the creator of the program.
Luo has layered that map with demographic filters to show such features as socio-economic class and age in a given area, to show where the greatest need exists. She believes it could help guide future decisions about where to ensure vaccines are available to the public.
“It would help policymakers and practitioners to find out whether this pharmacy actually offer the services to the people most likely in need,” says Luo, who also plans to update the app throughout the vaccine roll-out.
Brady says most people he’s booked for the shot are eager to receive it — regardless of which vaccine is offered.
He also notes that as the government expands the age range of who can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, he’s waiting for guidance about opening appointments up to people older than 64.
Brady hopes as vaccine supplies increase, pharmacies will be able to continue to offer the service to the community beyond this pilot project.
“If we want to get them vaccinated the only way that we’re going to be able to do that is have pharmacy and doctor’s offices and anybody that can put a needed in the arm involved,” he says.
“We know it works, people seem to be happy and getting the dose in a timely manner and where they can find a convenience. So overall, it’s a win for everybody.”