The Rural Pharmacist: Now Booking Covid-19 Vaccine Appointments!

You can also read our pharmacist blogs in the Oliver Paipoonge and Neebing monthly newsletters!

by Henry Tempelman, Pharmacist Owner of Evergreen Pharmacies

WE ARE ON BOARD AND NOW OFFERING 1ST AND 2ND DOSES TO AGES 18+! As of June 29, we are offering the MODERNA covid-19 vaccine at both Rosslyn and Kakabeka Falls Evergreen Pharmacy locations! To get on our waitlist, the easiest way is to access and follow the prompts for your preferred location and enter your information. Please book online if you are able because this makes the process easier for us and prevents our phone systems from being overwhelmed (on top of our other pharmacy duties!). Only if you are unable to book a spot on our waitlist online then call us and we can help get you signed up. Once you are on our waitlist then WE will contact YOU to book an appointment 😊 Please do not call the pharmacy to ask your position on the wait list.

Another month, another new set of recommendations and updates to follow with the COVID vaccine schedules. That’s okay though! We are witnessing science in action, which means we are following evidence-based medicine to maximize benefits while minimizing risk. 

If you got the AstraZeneca vaccine, you did the RIGHT THING! You reduced your risk for contracting severe COVID-19 virus and reducing the risk of transmission to those around you. Getting your first dose of ANY vaccine was important for your protection and others.

Getting your second dose? That’s the next important part! NACI (National Advisory Committee on Immunization) has updated their guidance on second dose vaccinations; If AstraZeneca was your first dose then NACI is now recommending that your second dose be an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). The mixing of AstraZeneca followed by an mRNA vaccine has proven to produce a stronger immune response to the COVID-19 virus than two doses of AstraZeneca. The emerging Delta variant, amongst other variants, is highly transmissible and poses high risk of hospitalization. Fortunately, none of the variants have demonstrated the ability to evade the strong immune response of fully vaccinated persons. Being FULLY vaccinated is the most important thing you can do!

If you got AstraZeneca for your first dose, the most important vaccine is the one you can get soonest! If you have a choice then your second dose should be Pfizer or Moderna.  If you can’t get Pfizer or Moderna, but you can get AstraZenca soon then Astrazeneca will still improve your protection immensely. The risk of a severe blood clotting disorder with a 2nd AstraZeneca dose is 1 in 600,000.

If you got Pfizer or Moderna for your first dose, then a second dose if of Pfizer or Moderna is preferred. Again, the theme is to get whichever dose you can get first, even if it means mixing doses. If you have a choice, then it is recommended to stick with the same dose of vaccine. Canada has a large supply of Moderna (at the time of this writing) and delays in Pfizer shipments.

With any second dose of vaccine, there is the possibility for more, the same or less side effects than you experienced with your first dose. These side effects are usually limited to 1 or 2 days and can improve with appropriate rest, fluids and acetaminophen.

And remember, the body builds immunity for approximately two weeks post-vaccination so be sure to continue safe lifestyle practices!

As of June 28th, all Ontarians ages 18+ who received mRNA for their first dose can book their second dose, with at least 28 days between doses. Anybody who received Astrazeneca for the first dose can mix with an mRNA and receive their second dose 8 weeks following their first dose. Childrens aged 12-17 are able to book appointments for the Pfizer vaccine regimen.

Thanks to everyone who completed the Norwest survey last month in efforts to continue to grow and recruit more health services in our rural community. With our continued support and success, we strive to improve quality and accessible health services in our community. Can’t be done without the incredible support we continue to receive from the community!