May 12, 2021: Ontario pauses administration of AstraZeneca vaccine
Source: Government of Ontario
TORONTO — On May 11, 2021, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, issued the following statement on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the province:
“Effective today, Ontario will be pausing the rollout and administration of first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine at this time.
This decision was made out of an abundance of caution due to an observed increase in the rare blood clotting condition, known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. As of May 8, 651,012 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were administered with a rate of VITT of 0.9 per 100,000 doses administered. 202,873 doses of the COVISHIELD vaccine were administered with a rate of VITT of 1 per 100,000 doses administered. However, over last few days, there have been increased reports of VITT, with a rate of 1.7 per 100,000 doses administered. In collaboration with health experts at Public Health Ontario, the Science Advisory Table and our federal, provincial and territorial partners, we are reviewing the data to consider options for the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for second doses and more broadly moving forward.
Data from the UK points to a much-reduced risk of VITT in second doses of AstraZeneca, and we look forward to providing more guidance in advance of people’s needing to receive their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The decision to pause is also based on the increased and reliable supply of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines and the downward trend in cases. We are also seeing early promising results of administering two doses of different vaccines and have asked the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) to provide direction on the interchangeability of COVID-19 vaccines.
Based on the much higher risks of COVID-19 infection recently observed in Ontario including hospitalization, serious illness and death, we maintain that those who received their first dose with the AstraZeneca vaccine did absolutely the right thing to prevent illness, and to protect their families, loved ones and communities.
The health and safety of Ontarians remains our top priority. Ontarians are encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible. The right thing to do to protect yourself and those around you is to get vaccinated with the vaccine you were eligible to receive.”
Starting April 20, 2021, select pharmacies across the province are booking appointments for AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for eligible people ages 40 or older in 2021. You must have an appointment to get vaccinated at a participating pharmacy.
The following DrugSmart locations have been selected by the Ministry of Health to be COVID-19 vaccine participating pharmacies:
- DrugSmart Pharmacy #003, 700-200 Windflower Gate, Vaughan ON
- DrugSmart Pharmacy #005, 234 Dovedale Drive, Keswick ON
Appointment bookings will be available shortly. Create your account to get notified of when appointments are available for your age group. Note that if you have already created your online DrugSmart account you are currently enrolled in COVID-19 vaccine updates.
January 18, 2021: In addition to COVID-19 PCR testing, we are now offering offering COVID-19 serology IgM/IgG antibody testing out of our Vaughan location.
Both PCR and antibody tests are available to asymptomatic travellers and corporate clients. DrugSmart is an authorized provider of Ichor Blood Services who is an approved test provider by Air Canada.
Serology IgM/IgG Antibody Test Cost: $149+tax
PCR Saliva Test Cost: $199+tax
Results Expected In: 24 to 48 hours
October 5, 2020
This year it is even more important to get your flu shot. The annual spread of the flu virus presents an additional challenge to Ontario's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting your flu vaccine offers additional protection to yourself and everyone around you.
DrugSmart Pharmacies will be receiving their flu shots soon. All locations are equipped to administer flu shots safely and with effective screening practices in place. There will be three stages to your flu shot experience with us.
April 10, 2020
To our wonderful DrugSmart members, Please note that our Pearson Airport pharmacy will remain open on Friday, April 10th & Sunday April, 12th from 11am to 5pm. Our Virtual Walk-in Clinic will also remain open all weekend. We are committed to providing you with consistent service during this time.
All of our other locations will be closed on Friday, April 10th & Sunday April, 12th as per Premier Doug Ford's announcement made on April 8th. We will be open for regular hours of operation on Saturday and Monday to meet your needs. View long-weekend hours for your DrugSmart Pharmacy here. Thank you for understanding, and enjoy the long weekend with your loved ones. We will remain available to answer any questions by live chat and on social media.
REMINDER: We will deliver your prescriptions and over-the-counter essentials for free, anywhere in Canada. Stay safe and stay home.
Be DrugSmart 💚💙
March 22, 2020
With the current challenges that we have all been experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and with the strain on our healthcare system, DrugSmart has teamed up with Ontario physicians to establish a Virtual "Walk-in" Clinic. There is no charge to Ontario residents for this service – it's completely covered by OHIP.
REMINDER: We will deliver your prescriptions and over-the-counter pharmacy essentials for free, anywhere in Canada. Stay safe and stay home.
Our location hours have remained the same with the exception of our Queen's (Kingston) location – updated hours for this pharmacy can be found here. The easiest way to keep track of your location's hours is to check the Google location. Find your location by searching it or by clicking here.
Stay calm, wash your hands, wear a mask, and Be DrugSmart 💚💙
March 17, 2020
We want you to know that all DrugSmart pharmacies are taking extra precautions to minimize the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of our customers and our employees are our top priority.
We will continue to follow the advice and requirements set by local and federal health authorities to ensure we are taking appropriate measures. We will continue to disinfect our stores, equipment, door handles and all highly-touched surfaces regularly. We ask that if you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms and/or a cough that you do not come into the store and instead use our free delivery service.
We offer free delivery on all prescriptions and OTC medications anywhere in Canada. We also offer phone and video counselling with our pharmacists to make sure you are getting the support you need during temporary social distancing.
New customers that don't currently have prescriptions with DrugSmart Pharmacy can sign up for this service here: BeDrugSmart.ca/virtual. Please share this information with anyone who may find it useful. For those less fluent in using online-based services, please offer them assistance or contact us.
Our pharmacists and staff are following all appropriate hygiene measures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 spread to themselves and our customers. We have asked any staff who feel sick to stay home and recover.
Our pharmacies will remain open and do their best to maintain regular hours, but the situation may change and we are re-evaluating everyday. We recommend that you call your nearest location in advance to make sure the store is open and the items you need are in stock.
We will continue to provide updates as the situation evolves. If you have any further suggestions on how we can help you and your loved ones during this time, please send us a message on our live chat or on social media.
Stay calm, wash your hands, wear a mask, and Be DrugSmart 💚💙