Select pharmacies in Simcoe Muskoka now offering vaccine to residents 40+
BARRIE, ONT. -- The AstraZeneca vaccine is now available to Simcoe Muskoka residents 40 and older through select pharmacies and primary caregivers.
Pharmacies and local health teams started offering the vaccine through Ontario's pharmacy pilot project designed to vaccinate residents where incidence rates have surged.
"We have been really busy," said Barrie Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist Abdul Albach. "We're doing between 70 and 100 vaccines every day."
Appointments at pharmacies are booked solid, and the waitlists are growing as more residents qualify for the shot.
Simcoe Muskoka faces a supply shortage as COVID-19 cases in Bradford West Gwillimbury, Barrie, Innisfil and New Tecumseth triple and in some areas even quadruple this month, according to the health unit.
On Tuesday, the Simcoe Muskoka health unit logged 108 new COVID-19 cases, which the region's medical officer of health confirmed are all variant strains.
To date, over 1,800 infections have been identified as the UK B.1.1.7, while 20 tested positive for the P.1 variant, and two cases were confirmed as the B.1.351 strain.
The health unit reports two Simcoe County residents died from complications of the virus. This month, COVID-19 has claimed 16 lives. Twelve Simcoe Muskoka residents died from the virus in March.
There are currently 1,144 active infections in the region. Forty-seven COVID-19 infected people are in the hospital battling the disease, including 13 in intensive care.
The region's medical officer of health applauded the community's sacrifice during these trying times and added residents need to follow health guidelines even after being vaccinated to reduce risking exposure.
Public health reports nearly 23 per cent of Simcoe Muskoka residents have received their first dose of the vaccine, while three per cent received both.
Participating pharmacies include several Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, Costco pharmacies, and more. A complete list of pharmacies offering the vaccine is available here.
Residents need to pre-register to book an appointment for the shot on the province's online portal. Individuals registering to receive the vaccine at a pharmacy will be placed on a waitlist.