Vaccines at pharmacies coming to Cornwall, but not yet available

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The province’s massive expansion of pharmacy vaccine locations doesn’t yet include any that are located in or near Cornwall.

Over 700 additional locations across the province are to begin offering AstraZeneca vaccine to individuals aged 55 and over. A list released by the premier’s office shows Shoppers Drugmart on Brookdale Avenue in Cornwall, the pharmacy at Cornwall’s FreshCo, and the Walmart pharmacy in Rockland as additions to the list.

However, anyone headed online to book an appointment at any of these three locations won’t find them available for booking, yet. The email from the premier’s office noted not all pharmacies in the updated list would start vaccinating at the same time.

The other one in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit catchment area is Pharmacie Jean Coutu in Hawkesbury.

When asked Monday if the EOHU catchment area is underserved in terms of pharmacy locations, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said it’s “an issue I’ve raised (at the provincial level, but) at the end of the day the number of (regional locations) will average out.”

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Earlier in his news conference, Roumeliotis thanked MPP Jim McDonell for his efforts in trying to have more pharmacy locations with vaccine in this area. The doctor referenced the ones in the list released by the premier’s office, but not when they might start accepting appointments.

“We’re just waiting for the vaccine supply to come,” Roumeliotis said, noting that, once there is a further announcement, there’ll be six pharmacies in the EOHU zone, all with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

On a day with quite a bit of bad news, Roumeliotis said there was “a good story to tell,” that the region’s first two mass immunization clinics, with about 1,000 people at the Benson Centre fieldhouse and 1,000 at one in Rockland, were big successes.

The doctor said the health unit is on track to continue with eight clinics a week, across the region. And, he said, spots are filling quickly – there’ve been 30,000 booked appointments already, with about 34,000 spots available.

And in a media question, Roumeliotis said now is definitely not the time to take off that mask – or at least tell work colleagues of such an intention because of a vaccination being received.

“No it’s not appropriate,” the doctor said. “Not until more people have received (both doses), those are liberties that can be taken later, not now.”

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As for the Ontario government pharmacy announcement, it said it’s rapidly increasing capacity in its COVID-19 vaccine rollout with the addition of over 700 pharmacies across the province. These locations will start offering the AstraZeneca vaccine to individuals aged 55 and older throughout this week.

“With more local pharmacies coming on board, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine will be easier and more convenient for eligible populations across the province,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

“I strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated when it’s their turn. Until we receive enough vaccines so that the majority of Ontarians can be vaccinated it remains critical for everyone to continue following public health measures we know work and keep us safe.”

This expansion will bring the total number of pharmacies offering the vaccine to over 1,400 locations and this number is expected to reach approximately 1,500 by the end of April.

Expansion of pharmacies into hot spot communities also helps to increase access to vaccines for populations who have been most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic so far.

To find the nearest pharmacy offering vaccinations please visit: covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations.

thambleton@postmedia.com

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