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COVID-19: Preparation underway for some Saskatchewan pharmacies set to administer vaccines

Saskatchewan pharmacies will soon be able to start administering COVID-19 vaccines, as the province launches its vaccination pilot project this week.

Under the program, 63 pharmacies in 14 Saskatchewan communities will have access to vaccines as of Thursday and the ability to get them into the arms of residents right away.

Chris Perentes, owner of Lorne Drugs in Regina, says he is expecting a shipment of 120 Pfizer vaccines and will start the immunization immediately.

He said when people found out his pharmacy was offering the vaccine, appointments booked up fast.

Read more:
Sask. pharmacies to administer vaccines by mid-April: health minister

“We’ve been actually looking forward to it for quite some time now,” Perentes said.

“All of the health-care workers in the province have been working tirelessly in the hospitals and everywhere, people giving vaccines and now it’s our turn now to actually step up and help out and help us get out of this pandemic.”

Perentes said his pharmacy will be following the province’s age-based vaccine plan and will only be taking booked appointments.

Announced Tuesday, the vaccine age eligibility will drop to those 42 years old and over and anyone 30 years and older in the Northern Saskatchewan Administrative District on Wednesday.

On Friday, the eligibility will lower again to the age of 40 and all eligible workers who have been identified as a priority.

Parentes said health-care workers and people with compromised immune systems, as long as they have a letter from public health, may also get vaccinated at his pharmacy.

Read more:
What we know so far about COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Sask. pharmacies

“We’re well prepared with our PPE and aseptic techniques and how to keep things clean and sanitized,” Perentes said.

“We have been administering flu shots for a number of years now, so we do have lots of experience in that. There’s just some training that we all have to do to ensure that there’s consistency and everything goes well with our patients.”

The province said pharmacies administering vaccines will also allow pharmacy and grocery staff to get their shot.

“As pharmacies begin delivering the COVID-19 vaccine, we know there will be an increased risk of exposure to those frontline staff working in those facilities,” said Paul Merriman, Saskatchewan’s health minister on April 12.

Click to play video: Saskatchewan pharmacies to begin offering COVID-19 vaccine appointments: minister

“By making the COVID-19 vaccine available to staff working in the pharmacy or attached grocery spaces through the pharmacists delivering the vaccine, these workers will be protected.”

Perentes said he will run out of the vaccines by end of day Monday and expects the province to announce more shipments next week.

The first Pfizer shipment is coming in ultra-low-temperature freezers and will be put into a fridge when thawed.

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