Everyone wants to know: when is the COVID-19 vaccine going to be rolled out to the general public, and how are Albertans going to get it?
Pharmacist William Poggemiller can’t read the minds of decision-makers at Alberta Health Services, but the Rimbey Value Drug Mart store operator has been following news of the immunization program closely.
“Right now the biggest issue is supply — across the province and around the world, there are limited doses available. But if we get to a point where there’s enough supply, I think it’s feasible that Alberta pharmacies will be able to help.”
William says very few (if any) pharmacies in the province have the -70 degree fridge required to store the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, but Rimbey Value Drug Mart is well equipped for the Moderna vaccine, which only needs to be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures.
“There are pharmacies spread across the province, and we will be happy to help if the government chooses to go that route,” William says.
Extra training, facilities
Rimbey Value Drug Mart has been proactive about providing extra services to the community in the past — in the summer and fall they offered asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, a program the government has since paused to conserve resources. If inoculation roll-out includes pharmacies, William says they’ll definitely sign up.
“We have the training, the staff, the facilities, the expertise and the protocols in place to administer injections safely.”
In fact, the pharmacy has regularly administered injections for a range of medications, which means they’re well-practiced in injection protocol.
“Pharmacists must be certified in first aid and CPR in order to give injections, and we’re trained to help someone if they have an allergic reaction,” William says. “We’re happy to answer any questions people have about the COVID-19 vaccines. From what I’ve seen of the data, it looks like the majority of people don’t really feel sick —maybe for a day or two. But we’re equipped to get people to proper care if they have any problems.”
Immunizations regularly offered by Rimbey Value Drug Mart:
- Immunizations: The flu shot, pneumonia vaccines, hepatitis A/B, meningitis, DTaP (diphtheria + tetanus + pertussis) and other common immunizations.
- Allergy serums: The pharmacy provides medication for severe allergy sufferers in customized serums (a dog/hay serum, for example). Injections are typically given before the season when you’re bothered most, with maintenance doses throughout the season.
- Regularly prescribed medications: B12 shots, testosterone shots, methotrexate (used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions), anti-psychotics, post-chemotherapy white blood cell boosters, and other common injections.
- Travel vaccines: Typhoid and other injections prior to overseas travel.
Rimbey Value Drug Mart is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and continues to offer delivery and curbside pickup to help meet Rimbey’s needs. Call 403-843-2020 to speak with a pharmacist or order a prescription.