The Rural Pharmacist: Post COVID, we’ll get back to Hugs and High Fives

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

by Henry Tempelman, Pharmacist/Owner of Evergreen Pharmacies

First off, we’d like to thank everyone for their support and kind words with our brand change from IDA Pharmacies to Evergreen Pharmacies. These compliments and kind words from customers in store and on our Facebook page have been rewarding and we are grateful for that. We don’t do our job expecting compliments and “You guys are the best!” comments, but hey! We aren’t medication dispensing robot vending machines and those kind words and smiles make our human hearts warm and fuzzy! We want to thank YOU again for your business and support throughout our growth and transition to Evergreen Pharmacies. We promise our commitment to excellent care and service will continue and we will strive to continue to grow and improve our services to meet the needs of our community.  Consider this a virtual COVID hug as a token of our appreciation; real human hugs will have to wait until we are on the other side of the exhausting pandemic and will be reserved for all hugging and/or non-hugging types.

            Update on COVID vaccines: Unfortunately (at the time of writing) we are still not selected as a COVID vaccination pharmacy site, but our application still stands and are awaiting the go ahead. If we are approved to be a COVID vaccine site (and we hope that we are able to provide the service at some point, but that is not guaranteed) then we will let our community know right away with how to sign up for a wait list. Sign up for our email newsletter by emailing or like our Facebook page “Evergreen Pharmacy” to stay updated. The local Thunder Bay pharmacies that are now offering the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine to anybody ages 40+ are Oak Mountdale, Shoppers Drug Mart Red River Rd, Dawson Heights Pharmacy and Safeway Pharmacy Court St.

We’ve received lots of questions about if the AstraZeneca vaccine is right for them or should they wait for Pfizer of Moderna. My answer has been always been “Yes, whatever vaccine you can get now is the best vaccine for you to get.” Personally, I’ve received maybe 40 vaccines in my lifetime and I’ve never asked who made the vaccine before I agreed to receive it. I’m more concerned about who is making my sunnyside up eggs than who is making my Health Canada/FDA approved COVID-19 vaccine. For the record, if it’s my lovely wife making my breakfast then I’m definitely not worried! All the approved vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca) are effective in preventing and slowing the transmission of COVID-19.

I understand there has been some negative media headlines about clotting and the AstraZeneca vaccine, but the risk has been blown out of proportion.

For reference, the risk of blood clots in 1 million people in people who-

  • Have received the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine: 4 in 1 million (0.0004%)
  • Take birth control pills: 1200 in 1 million (0.12%)
  • Smoke: 1763 in 1 million (0.18%)
  • Have COVID-19 virus: 12,300 in 1 milllion (1.23%)

(as per the European Medicines Agency and COVID-19 daily epidemiology update)

             COVID-19 is a nasty virus. It can be debilitating for even the healthiest of athletes, and it’s even more dangerous for seniors and those with other health conditions. The long-term effects can also vary widely from respiratory, pain or psychiatric symptoms. If YOU are able to get a vaccine, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you get whatever vaccine you have available to you. Unfortunately, the supply is still a problem, even though the government increased the age range to 40+ in pharmacies. From everything I read and hear from other pharmacists there still aren’t even enough vaccines to vaccinate 55+ age group that was initially allotted the vaccine bookings. But still, get yourself on a wait list if you can, as soon as you can.

As always, call to speak with our pharmacists if you have any personal questions or concerns about anything related to the vaccines. We are here to help and provide evidence based information. Hopefully the supply issue improves, we get these vaccines in as many arms as possible and all hugging types and non-hugging types get back to sharing hugs.. or awkward high fives, whatever you’re into.