Shepparton News

PHARMACIES OPEN FOR JABS

- By Rosa Ritchie and Caitlin Cassidy editor@sheppnews.com.au

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

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 ?? Picture: Megan Fisher Picture: Rosa Ritchie ?? Welcome to the rollout: Family Care Pharmacy pharmacist­s Joni Cenizal and Cristina Sison.
Easily done: Alan Fisher (left) received the AstraZenec­a vaccine at Family Care Pharmacy.
Picture: Megan Fisher Picture: Rosa Ritchie Welcome to the rollout: Family Care Pharmacy pharmacist­s Joni Cenizal and Cristina Sison. Easily done: Alan Fisher (left) received the AstraZenec­a vaccine at Family Care Pharmacy.

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