Manitoba pharmacists, physicians preparing for arrival of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Manitoba pharmacists and physicians are already seeing high demand for a limited supply of coronavirus vaccines that they haven’t even received yet.

On Wednesday, officials announced the first shipments of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are en route to doctor’s offices and pharmacies across Manitoba.

Ryan Chan, owner of Exchange District Pharmacy, says he’s been taking a steady amount of calls since.

“This morning has been a little hectic,” he told Global News on Thursday.

Read more: AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine arrives in Manitoba, roll out starts for pharmacies, clinics, pop-up sites

Chan is expecting 100 doses to arrive at his pharmacy in the next few days. He said most callers want more information about the AstraZeneca shot and to know if they can make an appointment.

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Chan is taking appointments starting Tuesday, but he first has to determine who qualifies for a shot.

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Because the AstraZeneca vaccine is not recommended for people over 65, it will be made available to people aged 50 to 64 — or 30 to 64 for First Nations individuals — with certain health conditions.

Chan is directing people to his website to fill out a questionnaire which will then let them know if they qualify or not. Appointments can also be made online.

“We’re trying to minimize the phone lines being tied up,” he said. “We use a pre-screener to determine if you qualify.”

Read more: Denmark, Norway, Iceland temporarily suspend use of AstraZeneca vaccine

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Doctor’s offices are dealing with a similar situation, according to Dr. Cory Baillie, president of Doctors Manitoba.

“There are a lot of calls coming into clinics,” Baillie said.

Similar to pharmacies, clinics are expected to receive between 50 and 100 doses each in the next few days.

However, Baillie said most patients can expect a call from the office, rather than having to call themselves.

“Right now most physician clinics that are offering the vaccine are reaching out to the patients in their practice that they know are the highest risk and contacting them,” he said.

The Manitoba government launched an online map showing which locations will have vaccine doses available.

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