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AstraZeneca vaccine in high demand in Kelowna: Pharmasave

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is available for people ages 55 to 65 at 13 pharmacies in the Okanagan.

Vaccinations for the age group began yesterday — and it didn’t take long for the downtown Pharmasave in Kelowna to become fully booked.

“It’s busy. Super, super busy. Right now, the phone is ringing off the hook,” said Brett Federko, downtown Kelowna Pharmasave’s co-owner and manager.

“Probably about five hours it took to get 400 bookings and we have another 400 on our waitlist right now, so hopefully we’ll get the same or more for our next allotment and hopefully we can accommodate all those people.”

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According to the B.C. Pharmacy Association, the vaccine shots are only available as a patient’s first dose. Pharmacies with online booking are asking that people try to book online before calling, although some difficulties have been noticed.

“We’re doing the best we can, the booking platform is still pretty new to use,” said Federko.

“As time goes on we’ll learn the ins and outs of it. As it goes right now, it seems like we are managing okay.”

And the waitlist is growing for the next allotment of AstraZeneca.

“Our system automatically puts anyone that books onto a waitlist as long as they’re eligible within the defined age range,” Federko told Global News on Saturday.

“As long as they are still hitting up our link, they’ll go to our waitlist and will be notified as soon as inventory becomes updated.”

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As for when more AstraZeneca vaccines will arrive, B.C. health minister Adrian Dix spoke to the matter at a rare weekend press conference.

“Our expectation is that we’re going to get an increasing supply in the coming months. We received 68,000 doses of AZ in March, at the end of last week we received a further 188,000 doses,” said Dix.

“We are expecting some additional doses this week. So we’re expecting in the range of 48,000 more.”

Online bookings are available at B.C. Pharmacy Association’s website.

Click to play video: Rush to book a COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine met with frustrations for many British Columbians

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