METRO VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vaccination clinics popping up in Metro Vancouver region hot spots, causing long lines, and a lot of joy — as well as some frustration.
Hannah Generoso says her family in the Newton neighbourhood is precisely who the clinic is targeting, but she didn’t hear about it from the province. Instead, they learned about it from a former coworker whose sister-in-law heard about it from a friend.
“I had no idea about it. My family had no idea about it. Literally, you could stand at our street corner, look down the street, and you will see Newton Athletic Park and we had no clue about it,” she said.
She says there needs to be more communication with “high-transmission” communities on where these pop-up clinics will be.
“We don’t need wishy-washy answers to questions about … how are you planning where these pop-ups are going. We need straightforward answers,” she said.
She says the province should “go old-school,” if necessary, to get the word out.
“Get out there to the community with flyers in multiple languages. In Punjabi, Tagalong — whatever the languages are dominant in that community — so that people can get the information they need and understand. Also, maybe give more notice.”
Pratap Sandhu, 26, who also lives in Newton, was told about the clinic by a sister-in-law. But he was fine with the process.
“Myself and my sister quickly headed over … and stood in line for about 3.5 hours and we were fortunate enough to be one of the last ones vaccinated,” he said.
“[They told us to] sign up online — it makes the process a lot quicker — you need your Care Card number, and a valid ID,” Sandhu added.
Hearing it was happening again, they urged the more than 50 employees at the family business to get in line for their shots on Wednesday.
“We encouraged our employees to actually take the day off … [We told them] if they would like to get vaccinated, you can have the day to wait in line, get vaccinated, and either come back to work or come back the next day,” he said.
There has also been some concern that people who don’t live in hot spot neighbourhoods have been trying to get a shot.
A Port Coquitlam man told NEWS 1130 Tuesday he waited more than four hours to get the AstraZeneca vaccine at a Fraser Health drop-in clinic but was surrounded by people who don’t live in the neighbourhood that’s considered a COVID-19 hot zone.
While Health Minister Adrian Dix said the people running those clinics are supposed to be checking to make sure vaccines are only given to residents from specific postal codes, that was not Daniel Nikitiuk’s experience.
Nikitiuk said no one at the Poirier Forum clinic in Coquitlam asked him –or anyone else– for proof of where they live.
“There’s been nobody that has come and asked for postal codes. I thought they might be doing it on the check-in,” he said.
Other people have also reached out to say no one asked them to show proof of where they live.
Despite mistakes, Dix pleased with high turnout
Dix admitted Wednesday, while some people showing up are not part of the target group, he insists most people showing up were supposed to be there.
However, he adds the province could have communicated better. “We acknowledge that.”
“Overall, it was successful.”
He says while some people aren’t qualified for those clinics, the overwhelming share of people the province is trying to immunize are getting immunized.
Dix is also promising to improve the alert system, so target groups are notified in a timely manner.
Even though mistakes have been made, Dix says he’s pleased turnout has been high as more than 4,000 people were immunized at Tuesday’s clinics as B.C. waits for more vaccine stock to arrive next week.
He insists the best way to ensure you get immunized is to register, so you are at least guaranteed a spot when your age cohort comes up.
-With files from Marcella Bernardo and Nikitha Martins