SASKATOON -- Residents in Saskatchewan will soon be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine at their local pharmacy, depending on vaccine supplies.

Director of professional practice with the Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan Myla Bulych says a pilot project is set to begin the week of April 26, in which 60 pharmacies in 12 communities will administer the Pfizer vaccine.

“There are limited supplies, so most pharmacies will be getting 150 doses,” said Bulych. “We are testing, so not every patient that wants a vaccine will have access to it during the test phase.”

Which pharmacies will be taking part is still being determined.

“We do want to make sure that our pharmacists are prepared and also the public has a go-to source of information, so that they know where and how to access vaccines from their pharmacy.”

Depending on vaccine supply, Bulych says a province wide rollout using almost all of the nearly 400 pharmacies in Saskatchewan could be expected in early May.

It would follow the province’s age sequencing process.

“We are asking patients to be patient with their pharmacy if they don't have all of the answers just yet,” said Bulych.

Production difficulties with the Moderna vaccine mean it will not be used in the test phase, but any Health Canada approved vaccine will be used in community pharmacies during the rollout.

Associate director with the Continuing Professional Development of Pharmacy Professionals Danielle Larocque says they’ve trained almost every pharmacist in the province over the past six years and are fully prepared to help.

“We've been involved in the annual flu shot vaccination effort for about six years now. So adding in the COVID-19 vaccine is not outside of our scope or our wheelhouse.”

They are in the process of training about 250 pharmacy students and pharmacy technicians to also provide the vaccine, she said.

Bulych says the addition of pharmacists in the vaccine rollout could take pressure off of the Saskatchewan Health Authority when it comes to administration.

“Especially in rural and remote areas, or areas where there is an outbreak,” she said. “There might be other scenarios though where regionally there has been many clinics or patients who have received what they need, so I think it's going to be very different depending on the area.”

The initiative could put a big dent in the needs of Saskatchewan patients, Bulych says, with the expectation that some pharmacies could administer 50 to 80 vaccines a day depending on staffing.