Vaccine clinic fully booked two days after provincial changes

A section of the Medicine Shoppe parking lot in Port Hawkesbury has been designated for immunizations.

PORT HAWKESBURY: Within 48 hours of the province allowing more people to get vaccinated at more locations, a pharmacy vaccine clinic here was unable to take more appointments.

On March 28, The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy posted on its Facebook page that it is “fully booked” until April 16.

“Please refrain from calling to attempt to book an appointment,” the Facebook post reads. “Unfortunately, we cannot book anyone further and cannot change your appointments.”

In response to The Reporter, the Medicine Shoppe explained they are waiting for confirmation of the number of doses they will be receiving from the province.

“As Dr. Strang has said, the clinics now are only the first batch and options will expand in the coming weeks,” Dan Harrison, Director of Communications with the Department of Health and Wellness said. “Every Nova Scotian who wants one will get vaccinated.”

A section of the Medicine Shoppe parking lot was designated for those getting immunizations.

“Patients receiving their vaccinations will be provided designated parking and will be asked to register with the assistant for screening at least five minutes prior to your appointment,” a March 25 Facebook post reads. “Upon registration, you will (be) directed to receive your vaccination in the pharmacy or out in the mobile clinic. After receiving your vaccination, you be required to wait 15 minutes in your vehicle while being monitored by the assistant. Once the 15 minute wait time has passed, you are free to go.”

The Medicine Shoppe posted on Facebook that they were allocated 200 doses between March 29 to April 1, and from April 5 to April 19, they were allocated 300 doses.

“To put that in perspective, we normally average 150 doses a week during flu shot season,” a March 25 Facebook post reads.

On March 26, the province confirmed that anyone 75 years of age and older can now book their COVID-19 vaccine.

The province noted that most community clinics and participating pharmacies for this age group have available appointments, and more appointments will be added to new and existing clinics next week.

In addition to the community clinic set up in the MacKay Room in the Bloomfield Centre on the StFX campus, pharmacy clinics also include the Shoppers Drug Mart in Port Hawkesbury and Drugstore Pharmacy in Antigonish.

There are also clinics set up in First Nation communities, including Paqtnkek, Potlotek and We’koqma’q.

The province said it expects to receive a shipment of AstraZeneca vaccine in early April. This vaccine will continue to be offered through participating pharmacies and primary care offices for people 60 to 64 years of age, including Freeman’s Pharmacy in Inverness and the Mediplex: Medical Complex and Clinics in Antigonish.

The province said COVID-19 vaccination appointments must be made online at: https://www.novascotia.ca/vaccination or by phone at 1-833-797-7772, adding that appointments cannot be booked directly through a community clinic, pharmacy or physician, and walk-ins will be turned away.