London Drugs is one of the pharmacy chains participating in the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout for people 55 to 65 years old in the Lower Mainland. (Black Press Media files)

London Drugs is one of the pharmacy chains participating in the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout for people 55 to 65 years old in the Lower Mainland. (Black Press Media files)

London Drugs denies claims ‘insiders’ got AstraZeneca first; says it had no advance warning

London Drugs had three pharmacies involved in the rollout out of the total 150 that received vaccines

One of the pharmacy chains involved in the rollout of AstraZeneca vaccine in the Lower Mainland on Thursday (March 31) said that many of its pharmacists heard about the program from a government news release, and not from its management.

In a blog post, London Drugs said that a briefing call with the BC Pharmacy Association was just concluding when the health ministry sent out the news release alerting the public of the new program, which diverted AstraZeneca vaccine from the frontline worker program to people from 55 to 65 years old in the Lower Mainland.

“Given the timing of release of the government announcement, and the BCPhA briefing was just concluding, there was no way to communicate clearly to all London Drugs pharmacies and customers of the planned roll out,” the company stated.

“Many of our staff and pharmacies learned first from the government announcement before hearing from London Drugs pharmacy management.”

London Drugs had three pharmacies involved in the rollout out of the total 150 that received vaccines. The doses across all three locations totalled about 500 out of the 13,500 B.C. officials said were made available to pharmacies Wednesday.

The company shot back against allegations made online about its vaccinations, calling them “false” and a “libellous and slanderous allegation” against their reputation.

“We are very alarmed and disappointed at allegations made in social media that London Drugs allocations were provided to employees and other insiders. This is absolutely false,” the company said.

“We respected the government’s requests to communicate in a certain order, and that order prevented any inside information for employees ahead of the public what was already calling in the thousands to acquire the limited vaccinations allocated to us.”

The company said it hopes to have an online booking system ready to go in the coming days. B.C. officials said 43,000 more doses of AstraZeneca are due to arrive in the province Friday.

READ MORE: Lower Mainland pharmacists face ‘overwhelming’ demand for AstraZeneca shots


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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