In the weeks leading up to Premier Jason Kenney’s announcement that new restrictions and a proof-of-vaccination program would be coming to Alberta, the owner of a Medicine Shoppe pharmacy in Calgary says he was seeing around 10 to 12 people each day coming to get their first or second doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
It’s been an entirely different story over the last two days.
Since Wednesday’s announcement, the phone at the Medicine Shoppe has been ringing off the hook with people looking to schedule appointments to receive the jab.
Unfortunately, after the 90 or so shots that were to be administered on Friday, the pharmacy will have used all of its supply.
“We only get a chance to order vaccine once per week” said the Medicine Shoppe’s owner and pharmacist Randy Howden.
“Our opening window for ordering comes up on Thursday, and we don’t get our vaccine until the following Friday.”
Howden said the timing of the provincial government’s announcement means his pharmacy, and likely many others, will not be able to meet the surge in demand for vaccines.
A spokesperson with Alberta Health said as of Thursday, there were 180,000 doses available across the province, and “nearly all pharmacies who placed orders this week will receive their doses within 24 hours of the supply arriving in Alberta.”
Howden acknowledged these are stressful times, and not everyone who has come in for their shots has been happy to do so.
He said he hopes customers will be patient as the pharmacy makes the necessary adjustments, saying it faces “a lot of demand all of a sudden.”
The province said more than 28,000 first and second doses were administered the day following Kenney’s announcement, compared to around 9,700 the day before.
As for the government’s incentive program where you can receive a $100 debit card for getting your shot, around 24,000 Albertans have already taken advantage of the offer.
Eligibility for the programs runs until Oct. 14.