Ontario pharmacy COVID-19 vaccine pilot ramping up in three regions

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TORONTO — Eligible Ontarians are standing in lines, making calls and going online to snap up COVID-19 vaccine appointments as a pilot project offering shots in pharmacies picks up steam.

Oxford-AstraZeneca shots are being given to Ontarians between the ages of 60 to 64 at 325 pharmacies in the Toronto, Windsor and Kingston health units.

The Ontario Pharmacists Association says the program –  which is set to launch broadly tomorrow – has a “rolling start” today, with some sites already administering vaccines.

Some Ontarians on the cusp of the age limit for the program reported confusion and appointments being cancelled after bookings opened yesterday.

The health ministry has since clarified that anyone who will be between the ages of 60 and 64 in 2021 is eligible.

Pharmacists association CEO Justin Bates says that is being communicated to the participating pharmacies today to ensure people can get their appointments.

Bates says the pharmacies are on track to use up the supply of 165,000 Oxford-AstraZeneca doses they’ve been sent before the shots expire in a few weeks, based on interest from the public so far and capacity at each site.