PHARMACIES OPEN FOR JABS
The convenience of having a COVID-19 vaccine at a local shopping centre is inspiring unvaccinated people to have the jab, according to Shepparton pharmacists offering immunisation against the virus.
Alan Fisher has been a regular customer at Family Care Pharmacy Shepparton for years, and decided to roll up his sleeve for the AstraZeneca vaccine there because of the convenience.
‘‘I told a few friends about it and they’re thinking about going down there because it’s so easy,’’ he said.
Long queues at the GV Health McIntosh Centre deterred Mr Fisher in the past, as he couldn’t stand for lengthy periods because of his bad back.
‘‘I went down to the showgrounds and I was gonna go in, I saw who was in there and I thought, ‘there’s no way I’m going in there’,’’ he said.
But there was ‘‘no mucking about’’ at the pharmacy, Mr Fisher said, and the staff were ‘‘brilliant’’.
‘‘I enjoyed it,’’ he said. Family Care Pharmacy Shepparton pharmacist Cristina Sison said the whole vaccination process took about 30 minutes, and her workplace could easily administer 20 doses a day, six days a week.
Mrs Sison said she was delighted to see colleagues and customers who were ‘‘AstraZeneca hesitant’’ move past their concerns about very rare side effects since she began administering doses on Monday.
‘‘We always say the best vaccine is the vaccine that’s available now,’’ she said.
Reid’s Pharmacy immuniser Kate Boswell said staff were thrilled with the initial uptake since administering their first jabs of AstraZeneca on Tuesday.
‘‘People have been very happy to just walk in and get the jab,’’ she said.
‘‘We hadn’t advertised, but we had groups of people coming in who we’d been talking to in the past, and everyone’s been excited.’’
A few customers had already received a jab while shopping when they were told the process could be done immediately.
Ms Boswell said many professionals ‘‘didn’t have time’’ to wait at the McIntosh Centre for the vaccine, and hoped the rollout among pharmacists would help to fill the gaps.
The process is simple: customers book online, pick a time and fill out an initial consent form.
Once a person arrives at their appointment, a pharmacist runs through an informed consent process that outlines potential risks and benefits — particularly if the customer is under 60.
Walk-ins are based on availability.
‘‘Yesterday when they released the vaccine numbers we thought, ‘we were part of that’,’’ Ms Boswell said.
The Reid’s Pharmacy immuniser said she hoped providing a familiar face and an accessible process would boost vaccine uptake.
‘‘It’s so important, we don’t know what’s around the corner with wastewater fragments in Shepparton,’’ Ms Boswell said.
‘‘You don’t know when it’s going to hit, and if you’re waiting it increases the risk.
‘‘It’s to protect your community, to protect your parents, your grandparents.’’
Reid’s Pharmacy is administering AstraZeneca vaccines on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and may extend hours based on demand.
● The News is compiling a list of participating pharmacies. If you are administering the vaccine or know a pharmacy that is, email