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


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirusvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Students from Cedar Hill Middle School play and hold a sign to protest proposed music cuts to school band programs in the Greater Victoria School District, during a Monday event. The district is facing a massive deficit and is considering a number of options for cutting costs. (Photo courtesy Laura Alcaraz-Sehn)
Massive student demonstration planned to protest Greater Victoria school band cuts

Band students from 14 SD61 schools will be at major intersections Thursday after school

Leon the squirrel gets a fancy snack of almonds and sunflower seeds from a well-meaning local, who really should be leaving Leon to his own foraging devices. (Submitted)
Squirrels don’t need your nuts, thanks

Consider birding instead of wildlife feeding, SPCA suggests

Jessica Sault of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation is hosting a virtual cedar weaving workshop through Royal Roads University on April 25. (Black Press Media file)
Cedar trees weave deeply into lives of coastal First Nations communities

Jessica Sault of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation hosts virtual cedar weaving workshop through Royal Roads

Reuben Forsland in his East Sooke studio with the guitar he crafted from hemp wood that he hopes will start a conversation about sustainability. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)
East Sooke artisan strikes a chord with custom guitars

Guitars include wood from Hendrix childhood home in Seattle

A man accused of choking a 15-year-old in his tent in Beacon Hill Park Tuesday night has been arrested by Victoria police. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man accused of choking, sexually exploiting 15-year-old in Victoria tent arrested

Police arrested the 38-year-old in Beacon Hill Park Wednesday afternoon

A peacock struts by a pair of lamb siblings at the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm, which remains closed to the public. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
VIDEO: Victoria petting zoo optimistic about future after 13 months closed

Public helps non-profit Beacon Hill Children’s Farm with nearly $100,000 influx

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Ocean Legacy Foundation members conduct a shoreline pollution cleanup in Vancouver. (OLP)
It’s time to end ‘suffocating’ plastic pollution along B.C. shorelines, advocates urge

This Earth Day, Ocean Legacy Foundation is launching a free educational platform to educate the public about plastic pollution

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
B.C. teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
An Island girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

The Coastal Fire Centre is looking ahead to the wildfire season on Vancouver Island. (Phil McLachlan – Western News)
Coastal Fire Centre looking ahead at wildfire season on Vancouver Island

‘We’re asking people in the spring to be very careful’

There are lots of resources for seniors looking for information about COVID-19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
COVID questions? Here are some phone-based resources available for seniors

Here is a list of numbers to keep on hand for Vancouver Islanders who aren’t fond of computers

Chum Salmon fry being examined with multiple motile and attached sea lice on Vargas Island. (Cedar Coast Field Station photo)
Study: Tofino fish farm sea lice infestations add fuel to push to remove open pens

Ahousaht First Nation asking for higher standards than what DFO requires

Most Read