SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics in Fraser Health are being described as chaotic, with little public communication from the health authority and people scrambling to get in line after hearing about them from word of mouth.
Despite no official heads up from the Fraser Health Authority,
COVID-19 vaccination pop-up clinics this week have been attracting
thousands of people, causing confusion, and frustration.
A few hundred people lined up at Newton Athletic Park early Thursday
morning, however Fraser Health confirmed to NEWS 1130 there would be no
clinics anywhere in the region today. The day before, the park was the
site of long lines as well as people — many drawn by word of mouth —
showed up in hopes of getting a jab.
The clinics are meant for people living in COVID-19 high-transmission
neighborhoods, but some who are showing up and getting a shot are not
from these hot spots.
“There’s been nobody that has come and asked for postal codes. I
thought they might be doing it on the check-in,” a person who got
vaccinated at the Poirier Forum clinic in Coquitlam on Tuesday told NEWS
Meantime, people who actually live in the high-transmission neighborhoods say they’re not finding out about the clinics.
“I had no idea about it. My family had no idea about it,” Hannah
Generoso, who lives in the Netwon neighborhood, told NEWS 1130 on
Wednesday. “Literally, you could stand at our street corner, look down
the street, and you will see Newton Athletic Park and we had no clue
She said there needs to be more communication with high-transmission
communities on where these pop-up clinics will be, something an
independent crisis communications experts agrees with.
“I’m appalled that we can’t do better than this,” says Allan Bonner.
“The most creative thing people seem to be doing is opening up a clinic
and hope everybody knows it’s there. It’s good that they’re opening it
up, but it’s not good that they didn’t plan ahead.”
Bonner says governments have had a long time to figure this out.
“I mean we’re just now, a year into this, saying ‘well maybe we
should go into the hotspots, maybe we should have communication in the
languages of choice in new Canadian neighborhoods’,” he adds “I mean,
this should have been thought of a year ago.”
On Wednesday, B.C.’s Health Minister admitted the clinics haven’t been without problems.
“I think that we could have done better, in terms of communications,
we acknowledge that and we’re working to do that,” he told reporters.
He said while some people aren’t qualified for those clinics, the
overwhelming share of people the province is trying to immunize are
getting immunized. Dix also promised to improve the alert system, so
target groups are notified in a timely manner.
Some health officials say the fact that so many people are eager to get vaccinated is a good thing.
“This is amazing news, this is great news. Everyone wants to be part
of the solution,” Dr. Brian Conway, Medical Director of the Vancouver
Infectious Diseases Centre said.
“I think that going forward, as long as we’re able to identify enough
vaccine supply to meet this incredible need, this is extremely good
news for our ability to handle the pandemic going forward.”