I was at the London Drugs at Lougheed Mall in Burnaby and asked a pharmacist how it was going.
They just stared at me and sighed.
“Bit of a disaster,” the person said.
That’s because the phone was ringing non-stop trying to book the AstraZeneca vaccine after news leaked it was one of the sites people could go to jump the line.
But please stop calling. The staff are begging you to stop, especially those being abusive that they can’t book a shot.
London Drugs Ltd. as a company is also urging British Columbians not to phone the chain’s pharmacies to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments after being “inundated” by calls.
The province revealed Tuesday it would begin offering the AstraZeneca plc vaccine at 150 local pharmacies within the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions to those between the ages of 55 and 65.
This comes after B.C. suspended the use of the vaccine for those under 55 amid growing global concerns it was linked to a small number of cases of blood clots to have emerged in those who have received the jab.
The province said eligible British Columbians would be able to call their local pharmacy beginning Wednesday to book an appointment outside their age cohort.
But London Drugs tweeted on Tuesday — the day before bookings were due to begin — that “due to an overwhelming response, all available vaccine appointments have been booked. We ask that customers refrain from calling our pharmacies directly to allow for the pharmacies to prepare for the vaccination process of the fully booked appointments.”
Instead, the Richmond-based company said that if additional vaccinations become available, it will let customers know where to book online.
In a statement sent to Glacier Media, London Drugs said its phone lines were “inundated with customers wanting to book appointments” after the province made its Tuesday announcement.
“These pharmacies immediately began taking down eligible patient information aged 55 to 65 for appointments. There are limited number of vaccines we have been allocated so far,” the company said.
“We will open up our online booking similarly to what we would do with routine flu vaccinations. We are ready to vaccinate as many people as possible and expect more information on increased allotment will be coming in the days ahead.”
It is interesting that people don’t seem worried about getting this particular shot after some bad press. Good luck to those trying to book.
- With files from Tyler Orton, Glacier Media