CHEMIST Warehouse Mildura is administering the AstraZeneca vaccine at its Langtree Avenue store six days a week, even to walk-ins.
Managing partner Eric Oguzkaya said one customer who rang up asking about wait times was surprised when the answer was only half an hour.
An online booking system makes setting or changing an appointment time easier, but those without internet access are also being catered to.
“Online is always the easiest because obviously you can say ‘I want to come in at 2pm because that’s my lunch break’,” Mr Oguzkaya said.
“Whereas if you’ve got a little bit of time to give us (as a walk-in), then obviously we can work with you and say ‘Okay, there will be a 10-15 minute wait and then we’ll slot you in’.”
The vaccines can be given to anyone 18 and over.
Mildura started the week lagging behind many other local government areas with 58.5 per cent of residents 15 and over having received their first dose.
That was the third lowest rate in regional Victoria.
But early signs indicate Sunraysia residents are enthusiastically embracing the extension of the vaccine rollout to pharmacies.
Mr Oguzkaya revealed after just two weeks, the Mildura store had been responsible for one in 10 of the state’s pharmacy-delivered jabs.
“Victorian pharmacies have done about 5000 and we’ve done 524 as of (Monday), so that’s 10 per cent of all Victoria,” he said.
Currently the Chemist Warehouse program runs Monday through to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.
It was expected to expand to seven days once the chemist can begin administering Moderna vaccines, the next stage of the rollout.
Mr Oguzkaya said consulting with residents was a key part of vaccine appointments, with a pharmacist able to talk through any concerns.
Information sheets in multiple languages are also available.
“You come in, you’ve been reading different media outlets and you’ve got different hesitancies,” he said.
“Part of the pharmacist’s approach is to ask what questions have you got, let’s try to relax and reassure you that it’s a safe vaccine and it’s the best option that we’ve got.
“A lot of the time taken for the vaccination is that process of talking to them.”
The online booking portal can be found on the Chemist Warehouse website.
ABOVE: Managing partner Eric Oguzkaya is pleased with the uptake of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccination.