COVID-19, Health

Rx Care in the Community: Main Street Pharmacy a Vaccine Site and Other Updates

Ontario is really moving on vaccination plans. So here I am with another update as part of my ongoing commitment to you to help keep you aware of how to access vaccination. Those of you who diligently are checking the Provincial Pharmacy Locator site might have noticed that Main Street Pharmacy has been added as a vaccination site.

We are getting a shipment of 120 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday. You can now call us at the pharmacy at 519-712-8800 to schedule first-dose appointments for anyone 12 and up, and second-dose appointments for anyone 80+ who got their first dose more than 28 days ago.

Please note if scheduling for a child, they must be 12 the day of the vaccine.

Patients 80 years and older who have had their first shot more than 28 days ago can book their second vaccine of either Pfizer or Moderna by calling the Health Unit at 226-773-2200, going online to the WECHU Booking Link or by calling a participating pharmacy.

We will be doing appointment only and not offering walk-in services. I want to thank you all in advance for your patience when you call, as we are anticipating high call volumes.

We need to run through these doses quickly so please share this post and tell your friends!

If you got your vaccine out of Ontario (for example a healthcare worker in Michigan who received it through work) please fill out the WECHU Out of Province Link below so we have accurate information on vaccination numbers in our community.

The AZ vaccine has been stopped for first doses in Ontario. This was due to the potential for vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia and not because of the efficacy of the vaccine.

I want to stress to all of my patients and the people in the community who got AstraZeneca, You did the RIGHT thing. Our area was considered a hotspot and has been hit hard by the second and third waves of the virus and by getting whichever vaccine was available including AZ you helped to blunt the damage it could have caused to our community.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario Dr. Williams announced an “unpausing” of AstraZeneca for second doses of vaccines only beginning next week.

He announced that anyone who received their first dose of AstraZeneca between March 10th and March 19th would be eligible to receive a second dose. This is done because the risk of Vaccine-Induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (the blood clot seen with first doses) is much lower in the second dose compared to the first.

Dr. Williams further instructed people to contact the pharmacy or office where they got their first dose. However the Ministry has only given more AZ to about 150 of the 330 pilot pharmacies who would have eligible patients.

You can locate a pharmacy who has been provided AZ for second doses by using the Provincial Pharmacy Locator and filtering by AZ (2nd doses) or the WECHU pharmacy locator for second doses.

Pfizer is approved for people aged 12 years and above.

Moderna is approved for people aged 18 years and above.

The following information is only applicable to first doses.

Pharmacies are now able to vaccinate anyone 12 and older. Please note however that some pharmacies have Pfizer and some have Moderna so if booking for someone under 18 (but who will be 18 in 2021) make sure the location has Pfizer or your appointment will not be able to be completed.

If you are booking for a young child, they must be 12 at the time of the appointment and it must be a Pfizer location.

There is still limited vaccine available for pharmacies and a backlog of patients waiting to get their vaccine. Pharmacies are required to book and manage their own appointments.

There is no central scheduling tool that you can access to get an appointment. You can find pharmacies that have the vaccine at the WECHU or Provincial Pharmacy Locator Links below.

– The mass vaccination sites run by the health unit are scheduling anyone 12+

– For anyone under 16 years old a parent or guardian MUST accompany them to the appointment.

– You can register for an appointment through WECHU by going to the WECHU booking link below or calling 226-773-2200.

– If you are an adult member of a First Nations, Inuit or Metis community SOAHAC is no longer administering doses but you can call WECHU at  226-773-2200 and indicate you are a member of the above communities to book an appointment.

Wait Lists:
Currently WECHU is allowing people 12+ to go on a wait-list for their first dose and for people 70+ or who will be over 70 in 2021 for a second dose. This can be done at the WECHU booking link below.

For second doses:
Currently second doses are being scheduled at 16-week intervals except in exceptional cases. This is going to change soon however based on supply of Pfizer and Moderna.

The AstraZeneca second-dose plan is still in flux but was detailed above if you’re interested. It was announced today that second doses will be scheduled on a rolling timeline ahead of the anticipated 16-week timeline.

Based on the plan announced today you must have 28 days between your first and second doses and can only schedule a second dose once your population (listed below) becomes eligible.

Currently they list anyone of a certain age or older but as with everything else with this vaccine roll out it is anticipated that this will include people who will turn the minimum age in 2021 and as always these timelines are anticipated and not set in stone.

– Age 80+ may begin scheduling the week of May 31st

– Age 70+ may begin scheduling the week of June 14th

– Anyone vaccinated between the week of March 8th to April 18th may begin scheduling the week of June 28th

– Anyone vaccinated between the week of April 19th to May 9th may begin scheduling the week of July 19th

– Anyone vaccinated between the week of May 10th to May 30th may begin scheduling the week of August 2nd

– Age 12 to 25 and not otherwise eligible in any of the above categories may begin scheduling the week of August 9th

– Anyone vaccinated after May 31st may begin scheduling their second dose the week of August 9th with at least four weeks between doses.

I have attached a useful graphic to help make the second dose plan clearer than mud.

Second doses may also be done earlier for certain priority patients with specific health conditions and certain healthcare workers. A letter from your physician or specialist might be needed as a high priority patient to book your second dose. All second-dose bookings must be done by calling 226-773-2200.

Please do not attempt to book a second dose if you don’t qualify. The decision to delay second doses has been made to support the mass vaccination of the population.

The decision to do second doses on time for those populations is based on risk (from health conditions or exposure) and the fact that patients with those health conditions may not mount a fully effective immune response to a single dose.

For both Pfizer and Moderna, the current shortened timeline approved for vaccination is not the 21 and 28 days respectively, but 26 days for both.

High Risk health Conditions are:

– Treatment for malignant hematologic disorders

– Nonhematologic malignant solid tumors

– Transplant recipients (including solid organ transplants and hematopoietic stem cell transplants)

– Individuals undergoing hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis

Priority Healthcare Workers:
A full list is attached as an image below and can be found by going to the WECHU Clinic link below and is attached as an image. In general if you are involved in the COVID response (vaccination, testing, treating), are part of a hospitals critical care or emergency staff, or are a first responder, you qualify.

If you are an adult member of a First Nations, Inuit or Metis community you can contact WECHU at 226-773-2200 to schedule a second dose.

After this initial AstraZeneca second dose pilot it is expected that second doses will be eligible in 12-week intervals, which is the recommended and studied interval for maximum efficacy of the AZ vaccine. I will update with more information as we learn more.

As a final note I want to thank all our community partners who are working hard to get this vaccine out to our communities and I look forward to finally being able to join you in the herculean effort you are engaged in.

As always if you have questions please give us a call at 519-712-8800 and I will do my best to help you with the ever changing information regarding the vaccine and any other issues you may be having! Stay healthy, stay safe and get the vaccine when you can!

WECHU Out of Province Survey:
Windsor-Essex Residents Vaccinated Outside of Ontario

WECHU Pharmacy First Dose Locator:
First Dose Location

WECHU Pharmacy Second Dose Locator:
Second Dose Location

Provincial Pharmacy locator link:
COVID-19 pharmacy vaccine locations

WECHU Clinic Link:
Vaccine Appointment Booking and Eligibility

WECHU Booking Link:
WECHU Online Booking Portal

Second dose Accelerated Schedule information link:
Anticipated Schedule for Second Doses of COVID-19 Vaccines

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

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