Seniors over 75 years of age began booking their COVID-19 vaccines through Alberta Health Services (AHS) on Wednesday.
In addition to facilitation through AHS, vaccinations can be booked at more than 100 community pharmacies in Calgary, Edmonton, and Red Deer. Appointments start the first week of March.
“Adding pharmacies to the vaccine rollout will allow us to continue ramping up our distribution program,” says Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health, “As more vaccines become available, we will continue to expand our approach. We will keep administering vaccines as quickly and safely as possible.”
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AHS has been working with the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association to develop a program for pharmacists to provide COVID-19 vaccines in their communities.
Initially, the number of participating pharmacies will be limited due to vaccine supply and strict storage and handling requirements.
Pharmacies were chosen based on both geographic and population needs, and demonstrating an ability to handle large volumes of vaccinations in short time frames.
As more supply becomes available, additional pharmacies will be able to provide the vaccine in other communities. Pharmacies will be contacted directly with an invitation to participate.
Each participating location will adhere to strict protocols. They also have experience with immunizations and the specialized skills needed to safely provide COVID-19 vaccines.
“The Alberta Pharmacists’ Association is very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Alberta Health towards the launch of this program. Community pharmacists are well prepared and ready to administer [the] COVID-19 vaccine,” says Margaret Wing, CEO, Alberta Pharmacists’ Association, “We look forward to expanding the program to include all community pharmacists in pharmacies across the province.”
Seniors who cannot access a community pharmacy are able to book their appointments through AHS’s online booking tool or by calling 811.
It is encouraged that Albertans receive both doses of vaccine at the same location. If the first dose is administered at a community pharmacy, it should be followed by a second dose at the same site.
Booking procedures vary by location. Visit Alberta Blue Cross for the complete list of over 100 participating pharmacy locations in Calgary, Edmonton, and Red Deer.