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North Bay pharmacies overloaded with vaccination requests

One North Bay pharmacy has stopped taking vaccination appointments and the other has a waiting list of over 2,000 names
2021 04 07  Walmart Pharmacy Vaccine
The Walmart pharmacy's COVID-19 vaccination booking system stopped taking appointments Wednesday morning.

Of the two pharmacies offering the AstraZeneca vaccine to eligible recipients 55 and up in North Bay, one has stopped taking appointments and the other has a waiting list of over 2,000 names.

Attempts to book online with the North Bay Walmart this morning (see above) were met with the message, "At this time there are no appointment slots available to be booked within your selected location. Please check back later or search for a different location."

Calls to Walmart confirm its local pharmacy is out of vaccine doses and there is no indication when more will be received.

At Northern Shores Pharmacy, as of noon Tuesday, staff continue to compile a waiting list of 2,000, all vying to receive one of the 200 doses allotted to that location. 

See related story: Local pharmacies put on provincial list to receive AstraZeneca vaccines

The pharmacy did say some people have received appointments through the Health Unit and have moved off their waiting list but Northern Shores remains at the mercy of the supply chain through the Ministry of Health.

"We encourage everyone to sign up when it's their turn,” said MPP Vic Fedeli in a release late last week. “Our government is ready to dramatically increase the number of vaccines we can administer once we receive a steady and reliable supply from the federal government."

One BayToday reader and vaccine hopeful said they had spoken with the Walmart pharmacist by phone Wednesday morning and learned the 200 appointments were made via the provincial online application.

"She made me aware of the current situation. They are not taking any appointments via telephone and the online application states: no slots are available at this time...Try later," the reader shared. "It was my understanding appointments could only be made online effective April 6 (yesterday). A cluster of vaccination confusion prevails." 

The Loblaw Pharmacy in Sturgeon Falls and the Shoppers Drug Mart in Parry Sound are the other locations in the district offering the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Vaccine equity has been a hot topic for municipal politicians, recently.

See related: Vrebosch says send vaccines north: 'We can get them in the arms'

During Tuesday's regular meeting, North Bay City Council supported a motion encouraging surplus doses from major centres to be shipped to under-served districts lagging behind in the vaccine roll-out.


Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for BayToday.ca, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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