With the start of the next phase of the vaccine rollout starting on Monday, it meant that 437,000 Albertans from the age of 65 to 74 became eligible to book their COVID-19 immunization.
Appointments can be booked through the Alberta Health Services online booking tool and by calling Healthlink at 811.
The other means of booking and receiving the vaccine is through Alberta pharmacies. An additional 156 pharmacies will be available to book appointments outside of Edmonton, Red Deer, and Calgary, for a total of 258 pharmacies administering vaccines across the province.
Locally, No Frills Pharmacy, Shopper’s Drug Mart, and Two Pharmacy have signed on to help with the distribution. Needless to say, the locations have been more than a little busy. Unlike the online booking service, Albertans between the ages of 65 and 74 can book anytime through the pharmacies and do not have to wait for their birth year to register. That has caused the pharmacy phones to light up. Reid Kimmett, Operations Manager, of Two Pharmacy says it’s been busy.
“It’s been kind of chaotic, changing day by day, but the demand from the public has been absolutely overwhelming which has been stressful here a little bit but also really good that the public is that invested and wants to put this pandemic behind us.”
Kimmett says that they are fully booked for the vaccine they have allocated so far. "The best thing to do for us is to go to twopharmacy.ca/covid-19 and on there there's a contact list you can join to be notified when we are taking more bookings." When they hear from the government that more vaccine is coming they will open up more bookings.
While Kimmett is pleased with the strong turn out for vaccinations for COVID-19 at Two Pharmacy, he admits that they cannot do it alone and that the vaccine rollout will require everyone working together.
Kimmett says, "We need the Alberta Health distribution which they have up and going at the RancheHouse now. We need other pharmacies, I know there's other pharmacies in Cochrane that have applied and haven't been accepted yet. It's going to be kind of a collective effort to get us all through this."