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Sylvan Lake Shoppers receives first batch of COVID-19 vaccine

Those 65 and older can book online to get their vaccine at the Ryders Ridge Shoppers
Fred Curtis receives the first of his two COVID vaccines by pharmacist Todd Prochnau, at Shopper’s Drug Mart in Ryder’s Ridge. Curtis was one of the first to receive his vaccine shot at the Sylvan Lake pharmacy. (Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News)

Roughly 60 locals received their first round of vaccine to fight against the COVID-19 virus Monday.

The Ryders Ridge location of Shopper’s Drug Mart has been approved to give the Moderna vaccine, and began administering the vaccine Mon., March 15.

The local pharmacy received 400 doses, and expects to continue receiving the vaccine weekly moving forward, though there may be delays in shipments.

Shopper’s has quickly been booked up for the first week, and was already booking vaccine appointments for next week on Monday afternoon.

Todd Prochnau, pharmacist and owner of the pharmacy, says they were already set up to administer vaccines, as they distribute a large number of the flu shot each year.

“We were already set up to administer shots, and with the need for this vaccine in our community we wanted to do our part to help,” Prochnau said.

Pharmacies outside of Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer are being sent the Moderna vaccine as it has a “longer shelf life” once out of the deep freeze. This means it can handle being transported to more rural areas better than the Phizer vaccine.

The Moderna vaccine is a two stage vaccine, meaning those who get the shot will have to come back in after a few months to get the second round.

Prochnau says the vaccine is 80 per cent effective against COVID-19 with the first shot and 95 per cent effective with the second shot.

“Nothing is 100 per cent effective, that just isn’t the world we live in,” he said.

“You need to wait in between doses to ensure your body has accepted the vaccine and it is doing its job. If you got the shot one day and then the next you came in a got the second round, it wouldn’t be effective.”

Currently those 65 and older, or those identifying as Indigenous 50 and older, are eligible to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Prochnau asks that those booking an appointment at Shopper’s for the vaccine do so online.

Appointments can be booked online at

“There is a number people can call, but I have been told it is backed up and can take a while to get through. Booking online is the easiest option, and it frees us up in store as well,” Prochnau said.

Currently the vaccine is only being administered at the Ryders Ridge location, though Prochnau hopes to be approved soon for the Shopper’s downtown.

After receiving the vaccines, you will be asked to stay in store for 15 minutes, to ensure there is no immediate adverse affects. Prochnau says this is standard operating procedure for any vaccine.

After receiving the vaccine, Prochnau says people will still need to ensure they are washing their hands, wearing a mask in public and maintaining physical distance from others.

“Nothing is 100 per cent effective against anything. This helps, it is 95 per cent effect after the second dose, but you still have to do your part.”

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