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High demand results in limited walk-ins at Calgary COVID vaccine clinic

Last Updated Apr 21, 2021 at 7:57 am MDT

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – A rush of people hoping to get their COVID-19 vaccine has led to limited spaces for drop-ins at a Calgary vaccination clinic.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) confirmed earlier in the day that drop-in appointments were limited at the centre, and had to add an additional 500 walk-in spots on a first-come, first-serve basis.

However, not long after opening those spots, walk-ins were officially closed and a sign posted outside the clinic, essentially turning many people away. That sign though was taken down as AHS has opened the door for some limited walk-ins.

In a statement, AHS said the “uptake for the AstraZeneca vaccine has been significantly higher this morning, with the expansion of eligibility to all Albertans aged 40 years and over.”

“So far today, more than 27,000 Albertans have booked an appointment to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine (as of 10:30 a.m.) through the AHS online booking tool, or by calling 811. This includes approximately 6,500 booked appointments in Edmonton Zone, and 15,000 booked appointments in Calgary Zone.”

Those with pre-booked appointments are still able to get their vaccine at the clinic.

Several people online say the clinic closed for walk-ins about one hour after opening.

Frank Serpico phoned 660 NEWS to say he arrived first thing at 9:00 Tuesday morning, but was turned away after getting to the door.

“I drove in, parked my car, got in line, registered my license plate, stood in the stairs, got to the top of the stairs (and) told to leave because the walk-ins were full.”

It’s not just the convention centre having trouble, as one Alberta pharmacist said his waiting list keeps getting longer and the province can’t send any vaccine out.

“I’ve got a note from the warehouse here and they’re saying they have absolutely no idea when they are going to get any,” said Greg Bueckhert, owner of Greg’s Remedy’s in Medicine Hat.

The president of the Alberta Pharmacist Association said there’s been a huge uptick in demand since the province lowered the eligible age for the AstraZeneca shot.

“It’s my understanding that many of the pharmacies that had doses available are quickly running out of doses,” said Bruce Winston who added he’s heard of some rural pharmacies pushing people to make the drive to the rapid flow clinics as AHS won’t be restocking the shot for them in the near future.