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Pharmacy encouraged as Sask. vaccination pilot begins

April 28, 2021

Throughout the pandemic, local Co-ops have been taking a lead role in providing essential goods and services in communities across Western Canada.

Now pharmacies, including those at Co-op locations, are increasingly being used as part of the vaccination rollout, with locations in British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba distributing vaccines when supply is available. A pilot program for pharmacies delivering vaccinations begins this week in Saskatchewan.

“As soon as the Government of Saskatchewan announced the pilot locations, we were flooded with calls for appointments from our community,” said Dwight Gulutzan, Pharmacy Manager at Moose Jaw Co-op, which is participating in the pilot. “It’s encouraging to see that so many are willing to be vaccinated. We thank anyone interested in booking an appointment, and for being patient as we begin this process.”

Pharmacies provide vaccinations, such as the influenza and shingles vaccines, as part of the regular services they provide their customers. One of the largest benefits of distributing vaccines through pharmacies are their accessibility in communities and neighbourhoods.

“Pharmacists are qualified and knowledgeable medical professionals who build relationships and provide trusted advice to our customers as part of the larger healthcare team,” said Gulutzan.

“The vaccines have been safely administered to millions of people around the world, so I encourage everyone to take the first vaccine that is available when you’re eligible to receive it.”

The initial pilot program involves a small supply of Pfizer vaccines which will need to be administered in few days after being received. Please be patient as demand is expected to exceed available supply, however more doses are expected to arrive through May and June. Vaccinations will be distributed as per provincial eligibility criteria – the same age categories and priority populations – with scheduled appointments dependent on the vaccine availability.

Local Co-ops are currently distributing vaccines at three locations in British Columbia, 17 locations in Alberta and eight locations in Manitoba, with 25 locations in Saskatchewan expressing interest in participating once the pilot is complete.

“Co-op pharmacies across Saskatchewan, like all pharmacies, are eager to help protect their communities from COVID-19,” said Joe Carroll, Senior Pharmacy Marketing and Operations Manager at Federated Co-operatives Limited. “Local Co-ops have been stepping up to serve their community members since the pandemic started and having a role in distributing these vaccines is one more way they continue to.”