London Drugs is preparing to take a big role to support the BC government’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Once the most vulnerable have been immunized, London Drugs will be ready to administer vaccines to thousands of British Columbians over the coming months.
“We are ready to assist in British Columbia however we can to immunize people quickly, safely and according to the Government’s phased distribution approach,” said Chris Chiew, general manager of pharmacy at London Drugs. “For now, that means sending our pharmacists out into the community to reach the most vulnerable, including care homes and mass worksites.”
For months, the company’s pharmacists have been administering the vaccine on-site at assisted living facilities and mass vaccination clinics in BC to help speed up delivery to those most at-risk. Once the most vulnerable have been immunized, London Drugs expects to step in to give vaccines to a wider group in British Columbia, making the vaccine more easily accessible at pharmacies across the province.
“Given our experience with mass vaccination campaigns, our focus on public health, and our presence in our communities, we are ready to support the rapid rollout of the vaccine through all of our pharmacies in British Columbia,” said Chiew. “We are ready to ensure widespread, easily accessible COVID-19 vaccine according to the Government’s phased distribution approach with the most vulnerable at the front of the line.”
When vaccines are made available to the general public in British Columbia, London Drugs will launch an online booking system where patients can easily make an appointment.
London Drugs and its team of certified injection pharmacists have offered immunizations for years, but the COVID-19 vaccine presents some unique supply chain demands. It needs to be stored between minus 80 Celsius and minus 70 Celsius, so the company has invested in several specialized freezers and sourced ultra-low temperature containers to safely transport the vaccines from their distribution center to pharmacies. They have also secured the protective wear needed to ensure staff can safely transfer the vaccine and PPE to protect staff and the public during the vaccination process.
Chiew adds, “This is one of the largest widespread public immunization efforts ever undertaken. Since pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers and our patients are already familiar with getting their annual flu shot at our pharmacies, we know that we have an important role to play in the distribution of vaccine supply.”
Submitted by London Drugs