AstraZeneca Vaccine in Pharmacies

Currently, B.C. pharmacies do not have AstraZeneca vaccines in stock. Please visit the B.C. government's Get Vaccinated page to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. 

Get Vaccinated: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/register

 

The B.C. Ministry of Health has provided updated guidance that pharmacists may administer AstraZeneca vaccine as a 1st dose in two circumstances, since a documented referral is no longer mandatory:

  • To individuals with a contraindication to the mRNA vaccines
  • To individuals who refuse mRNA vaccines but without contraindication, who indicate that they will only be vaccinated against COVID-19 with AstraZeneca vaccine

While standard informed consent is applicable to both circumstances and pharmacists should address misconceptions that individuals may hold, those individuals who fall into category 2 (above) should be advised that:

  • The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are very safe and effective. There is a strong recommendation for the preferential use of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in all authorized age groups.
  • As of June 24, 2021, the estimated rate of vaccine induced thrombosis with thrombocytopenia (VITT) in Canada may be as high as 1 in 50,000 - 73,000 1st doses administered; this is reduced to 1 in 600,000 following the 2nd dose. Six Canadians have died because of this event. This event has not been associated with mRNA vaccines.
  • Rarely, capillary leak syndrome has occurred in people who received AstraZeneca vaccine and this vaccine should be avoided in those with a history of capillary leak syndrome. This event has not been associated with mRNA vaccines.
  • The future supply of AstraZeneca in B.C. is uncertain; for those being immunized based on their preference, it may be necessary to complete the 2nd dose using an mRNA vaccine.
  • Appointments for mRNA vaccine are readily available now through a public health mass clinics.

Because it is expected that there will only be a handful of individuals who would be receiving a first dose of AstraZeneca, the BC Centre for Disease Control has advised that it we will not be updating its immunization manual to reflect these exceptions.

Starting June 28, 2021, members of the public who received a first-dose of AstraZeneca from a public health clinic or as part of an employer-based program may book appointments for second-doses of AstraZeneca from pharmacies.

Pharmacies will be listed according to their health authority region. Please remember to bring your record of immunization and your photo identification. You will be asked to present the record and your photo ID when arriving at a pharmacy to receive your vaccine.

There is no change for patients who received their first-dose at a pharmacy. Patients who received the first dose at a pharmacy will be contacted by their pharmacist to arrange their second shot. In accordance with public health guidelines, patients who are contacted by their pharmacist for a second dose of AstraZeneca will also be informed that they can choose to receive an mRNA vaccine at a public health clinic instead.

Background

On June 3, 2021, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer, announced the Province will proceed with offering patients who received their first COVID-19 immunization of an AstraZeneca vaccine to have either a second dose of AstraZeneca OR one of the two mRNA vaccines currently available in B.C. – Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

The recommended timeframe between the first and second doses of AstraZeneca is 8 to 12 weeks. The decision made by British Columbia is consistent with current recommendations issued by NACI and Canada's Public Health Officer, Dr. Teresa Tam.

Those who received their first dose at a pharmacy will be contacted by the same pharmacist in the coming days to weeks to schedule an appointment. Only the AstraZeneca vaccine will be offered at community pharmacy in B.C.

For more information about receiving Dose 2 of the AstraZeneca vaccine, please visit the BC Government's website.

All patients who received the first shot of AstraZeneca will be eligible to receive a second dose of AstraZeneca. In accordance with public health guidelines, patients who are contacted by their pharmacist for a second dose of AstraZeneca will also be informed that they can choose to receive an mRNA vaccine at a public health clinic instead. To find out more information on which vaccine you feel is right for you, visit the BCCDC's information on second doses.

Pharmacy patients who would like to book an appointment for their second dose can reach out to any of the pharmacies listed.