'Incredibly grateful': Vaccine rollout begins at Ottawa pharmacies

As COVID-19 cases in Ottawa surge to record levels, there is relief in the form of vaccines.

Select Ottawa pharmacies began distributing vaccines Saturday to those over the age of 55.

“It feels silly to say it but I was so excited when I woke up this morning, I’m just incredibly grateful, I’m really excited that I have it,” said Melanie Polowin, who was the one of the first to get her shot at a pharmacy in the city.

It’s part of a push by the province to expand its vaccine rollout, in an effort to fight the variants of concern.

“It means a little bit less worry for me, for my family, for my household, it means eventually a little bit more freedom than I was anticipating having this summer,” said Polowin.

Dorothy Brown, 77, was also excited to get the chance to roll up her sleeve Saturday.

“I’m glad that I’m here and I’m going to be protected,” said Brown.

The Shoppers Drug Mart in Westboro is among 34 Ottawa locations added to the provincial rollout, now offering AstraZeneca doses to anyone over 55.

“Today we’ll be looking to vaccinate about 15-20 people, with the same thing tomorrow, and the full rollout happening Monday,” said Jordan Clark, Pharmacist and owner of the Shoppers Drug Mart on Richmond Road.

“People are really excited, it’s an emotional day for people and for us too,” he added.

However, as more shots go into arms more cases too are being identified. Ottawa Public Health reported a record 240 cases in Ottawa on Saturday.

Only a few pharmacies in the city began offering vaccines Saturday, the remainder of the 34 total in Ottawa are expected to get up and running in the coming week.