SURREY (NEWS 1130) – After a leaked report from the B.C. CDC revealed a neighbourhood in Surrey as a hotspot for the virus has the lowest vaccination rate, one advocate for the South Asian community is calling on more vaccine clinics in gurdwaras and other faith-based community centres.
Kulpreet Singh founded the South Asian Mental Health Alliance. He said language barriers make places like the temple a safe space for members of the community to get their shots.
“When they go into community hubs, they know that they can speak to someone who understands their language, and who can provide them with the support that they need,” Singh said.
He hopes that the province will ramp up vaccine clinics in faith-based community spaces, added if vaccination clinics were taking place more widely across the city — a lot more people could be vaccinated quickly.
“Through faith-based centers, and those places where the community already has an established trust relationship and also where they can easily access it through their neighbourhood, or through transit, would be a great way to get more people vaccinated,” Singh said.
When Singh volunteered at a clinic in a gurdwara Friday, he was surprised many essential workers were not yet vaccinated.
“A lot of international students are new immigrants who work in congregate settings without physical distancing, often don’t have the privilege to be able to ask their employer for the time off, even though they technically have the right to do,” he said.
Accessibility concerns and socio-economic background also prevent many South Asian folks from being able to book their vaccine, Singh said.
“Some people don’t have readily available access to a reliable Wi-Fi connection or internet connection or technology that they can use to register.”
Sunday’s vaccine clinic will be at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, 7050 120 Street, Surrey.