COVID-19 vaccines and flu shots now available at Shoppers in Fort Frances

The COVID-19 vaccine is now available at both Shoppers Drug Mart locations in Fort Frances, while supplies last, says pharmacist Venkata Donthi Reddy.

As the COVID-19 virus evolves over time, manufacturers have updated their vaccines to help update people’s immune response to the virus.

Reddy said that the current vaccine being offered is the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine made with the XBB.1.5 variant.

Moderna COVID Boosters are no longer being offered, he says.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that all individuals previously vaccinated against COVID-19 should receive a dose of an XBB.1.5 containing formulation COVID-19 vaccine, beginning in the fall of 2023.

A dose is recommended at least 6 months after completing the primary series, a previous booster, or a COVID-19 infection.

Booster doses are particularly important for those at increased risk of COVID-19 infection or severe disease, for example, adults over 65 years of age, residents in long-term care homes, individuals with underlying medical conditions that place them at higher risk of severe COVID-19, individuals who are pregnant, members of racialized communities, or people who provide essential community services, says NACI.

Pharmacist Reddy works at the new Shoppers Drug Mart location on 140 Scott Street, formerly owned by Pharmasave. To receive a vaccine, walk-ins are available Monday through to Friday from 2 to 5 p.m., he says.

At the Shoppers Drug Mart located at 375 Scott Street, vaccine bookings can be made online.

As of last Tuesday, November 9, Reddy said the store still had around 300 vaccines left.

Since the vaccines became available the day before, he says he has seen a decent number of walk-ins.

“My best advice is to check with the pharmacy before they walk in, just to make sure we have supplies at that time,” Reddy said.

Shoppers Drug Mart is also offering flu shots. Only around 15 flu shots were remaining as of last week, says Reddy, who added that the distribution of flu shots is a bit different. Shipment loads are dependent on the previous year’s data when deciding how many to send to a particular location, he says.

“Before we order the next [shipment], we have to make sure that we have almost consumed 90 per cent,” Reddy said.

Residents that may have concerns about taking flu shots or COVID-vaccines should continue to look after their health in other ways, such as by taking vitamins, Reddy says.

Elisa Nguyen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times