London-area pharmacies to offer COVID-19 vaccine for adults over 55

A nurse fills a syringe with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a health care center in Seoul Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. (Jung Yeon-je /Pool Photo via AP)

Residents in the London region over the age of 55 will soon be able to book a COVID-19 vaccination at local pharmacies.

The province is expanding the pharmacy vaccination program to 350 more locations across Ontario, including locations throughout southwestern Ontario.

Locations in London include; the Costco Pharmacy at 693 Wonderland Road North, and the Shoppers Drug Mart at 603 Fanshawe Park Road West.

All of the pharmacies will be administering the AstraZeneca vaccine, with some locations offering the shots as early as this Saturday.

"Ontario's capacity to get needles in arms continues to grow by the day," said Premier Doug Fordin a statement. "Thanks to the determination and commitment of members of Team Ontario we are ahead of schedule and administering more vaccines than all of the other provinces combined. We are ready to dramatically increase the number of vaccines we can administer once we receive a steady and reliable supply from the federal government."

The expansion doubles the number of pharmacy locations to 700 and provincial officials said there could be as many as 1,500 locations by the end of April.

"With more locations coming on board, these settings will make receiving the COVID-19 vaccine easier and more convenient for eligible populations across the province,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a statement.

“I encourage everyone to sign up when it's their turn. Until we receive enough vaccines so that the majority of Ontarians can be vaccinated it remains critical for everyone to continue following public health measures we know work and keep us safe."

The AstraZeneca vaccine is easier to store and transport than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, making it easier to distribute to pharmacies and doctors’ offices.

The initial program was rolled out earlier this month in three public health units. Canada recently received a shipment of 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the United States as part of a “vaccine loan” agreement.

Federal health officials recently advised that the vaccine should only be given to those 55 and over while officials review the data around a very small number of blood clots that have occurred in younger patients who have received the vaccine in Europe.

The province also has plans to expand distribution through primary care physicians, but not details on locations or dates were released.

For a list of pharmacies in Southwestern Ontario, click here. The Middlesex-London Health Unit says those eligible are encouraged to contact the pharmacies directly to find out how to book an appointment.

- With files from CTV News Toronto