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Niagara Falls
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Pharmacies run out of vaccine, with no promise of more to come

And then there was none.

Pharmacies in Niagara-on-the-Lake that had been busy inoculating patients against COVID-19 have been forced to stop.

They have all run out of vaccine, with no promises yet from the provincial health ministry about when the supply might be replenished. Or if it will be replenished.

However, Niagara Region public health plans two more clinics at the NOTL Community Centre, on May 15 and 16.

Sean Simpson said his Apothecary in Old Town ran out Saturday and the pharmacy in Old Town delivered its final shots on Monday.

In all, Simpson's Pharmacy distributed about 1,500 doses since April 5, he said.

“We don't anticipate getting any more” right away, he said, and it's been suggested it could be two or three weeks. Or not at all.

Fortunately, his pharmacy only booked enough appointments for which it had vaccine, so no no one's shot got cancelled. But that still leaves more than 2,000 names on the Simpson's waiting list, he said Tuesday.

Julie Dyck, owner of Stone Road Pharmacy in Virgil, also ran out of vaccine after administering about 300 doses over two weeks.

Her outlet's evening clinics last week were “a hit” and fully booked, she said.

“I have no idea when we will get more,” she told The Lake Report, “but I am prepared with ancillary supplies (alcohol swabs, syringes and Band-Aids) for as soon as the delivery guy knocks on the door.”

Simpson said people should still get the first vaccine available to them – despite an announcement Monday by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) that the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna are “preferred” to viral vector vaccines of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

That statement was not “consistent with what most of us on the front lines would have liked to have heard,” Simpson said.

Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in, urging people to get the first vaccine that is available to them.

Simpson also reiterated those sentiments. “We're not over the hump as far as even getting half of the country vaccinated and we know that there's a number of people right now that do want to get vaccinated, but I'd be concerned about how (NACI's) messaging is being received by people that might be on the fence right now,” he said.

“We've seen and heard of instances where people have chosen to avoid getting a certain vaccine in the hopes of waiting for another one and then they've ended up in an ICU on a ventilator,” he added.

“So I hate for guidance to come from a body like that to cause people undue hardship hardship and illness.”

New vaccine timelines

• Week of May 10: Adults over the age of 40, those with health conditions deemed “at risk,” and more individuals who cannot work from home.
• Week of May 17: All those over the age of 30.
• Week of May 24: All those over the age of 18.

How to book the shot

Appointments online: Those wishing to book online can do so at Ontario.ca/bookvaccine

When booking an appointment, individuals will be asked for information from their green Ontario health card, birth date, postal code and email address and/or phone number. At the time of booking, eligible individuals will schedule their first and second vaccination appointments.

Appointments by phone: Individuals who still have a red and white health card, or who require assistance with booking, can call the provincial vaccine information line number at 1-888-999-6488.

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