By RYAN KING
PORT AUX BASQUES — Western Health’s blanket cancellation of all second dose COVID-19 vaccination appointments has left some residents scrambling to get a new appointment. Those scheduled after Aug. 6 were told to rebook their second dose appointment eight weeks from their first vaccine dose, but it has been difficult to obtain a second appointment in the Port aux Basques area since currently none are being offered past July 16. This has left many wondering what they should do, as calls to arrange an appointment were met with the knowledge that there are no bookings available.
Regional Director of Communications, Tara Pye, responded to inquiries via e-mail.
“Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are interchangeable for second doses. When booking you will need to select mRNA vaccine as your appointment type. At the clinic you will be provided with either Moderna or Pfizer depending on vaccine availability. At this time, Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for individuals aged 12-17. The Pfizer vaccine will be available at all locations for this age group,” said Pye.
Western Health also noted the difficulty in finding an appointment in areas on the west coast. They suggest that if there are no appointments currently available in the area that match the timeframe for your second appointment, then residents should keep checking back as there are appointments being added weekly.
An announcement on June 23 advised residents “that thousands of new vaccine appointments have been added on the appointment booking site for both first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine for up to July 15. There are enough appointments to vaccinate every individual who will be eligible for a second dose up to July 15. More appointments will be added regularly as vaccine supply is confirmed and more people are eligible.”
Residents may also receive a dose from participating physicians and pharmacies. Shoppers Drug Mart in Port aux Basques has been scheduling people for vaccinations, and are currently booked well into August. Residents are also urged to check with their family doctor.
If residents are medically unable to receive a mRNA vaccine and have still not received the first dose of AstraZeneca, they should contact their local public health office to arrange an appointment.
To book an appointment in the Western Health region residents can visit www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/vaccine/gettheshot/. People who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should not book an appointment, but should instead go to https://covidassessment.nlchi.nl.ca/ and complete a self-assessment.
Those who are having trouble booking online can call 1-833-703-5470 between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM.