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'Flabbergasted': Metro Vancouverites react to AstraZeneca 'drop-in clinic' rollout (PHOTOS)

People waited in lines for hours after Fraser Health opened drop-in clinics to people age 30 and over.
Metro Vancouverites are frustrated with the BC rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine after people waited in long lines on April 27 at drop-in clinics.

Scores of Metro Vancouverites are expressing frustration with the B.C. government's rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine after people waited in long lines this week. 

On Tuesday (April 27), Fraser Health announced that people 40 years of age and older who live in COVID-19 high-transmission neighbourhoods could visit drop-in clinics with no appointment. Additionally, the health authority said people 30 years of age and older who live in the 10 high-transmission neighbourhoods in the Fraser Health region could also receive the vaccine. 

But people in the Fraser Health Authority said they waited in long lines to receive the vaccine, while others said they weren't made aware of the clinics in the first place.

Health Minister Adrian Dix told reporters in a press briefing that roughly 1.9 million British Columbians are registered for their COVID-19 vaccines and that everyone will be able to book an appointment soon. However, he acknowledged that there is a limited supply of AstraZeneca at this time.

In regard to the Fraser Health drop-in clinics, the health minister stated that he was "happy to report that 4,100 people were vaccinated," but that "we could have done better in terms of communication.

"We acknowledge that." 

Long lines in Fraser Health 

Health authorities must try different things to target hot spots across the province, noted Dix. "You never want to see pictures of people lining up ... and we're seeing a little of that in Surrey today, [but] we're going to do our best to target those communities." 

For now, there won't be many more AstraZeneca drop-in clinics until supplies of the vaccine are replenished, added the health minister. 

Dix also stated that people in "three of the four clinics" were identified by their postal code. However, some people in the Coquitlam drop-in clinic may have lived outside of that high-transmission community. "Overall, I just want to remind everyone how precise and excellent this program is."

A man who spoke to the Tri-City News said he wasn’t going to stand in line for what could be a long time to get vaccinated with Astra Zeneca. “I drove up and turned around,” he said.

Some area residents, meanwhile, are upset about the clinic bringing problems to their streets: Parking and traffic problems are among the main complaints, with at least one resident calling for a traffic management and parking plan for the clinic.

Kathleen Yang took to Twitter to say her partner had waited in line at the Cloverdale drop-in clinic for roughly two hours. The "estimated wait time [for] folks arriving now looks to be about three to four hours, but this is just their guess," she added.

Vancouver Coastal Health spokesperson Jeremy Deutsch told Vancouver Is Awesome that "the age range for the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine is now 30+, but VCH is finished with the high-priority neighbourhood clinics."

Have a look at what some Metro Vancouverites have to say about the AstraZeneca rollout. 

COVID-19: Here are the 16 'high-transmission neighbourhoods' in B.C.

Do you live in a high-transmission neighbourhood?

The B.C. government is prioritizing the administration of vaccines in high-transmission areas in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the wake of surging cases. 

Some hospitals in the Fraser Health Authority are already operating at capacity, while others are quickly filling up. In order to protect more people and keep hospitals working, the Province has started giving the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to people age 30 and older in high-transmission areas. "Prioritizing neighbourhoods based on COVID-19 cases, outbreaks and hospitalizations will protect more people."

High-transmission neighbourhoods are located in 16 communities across B.C.

With files from the Tri-City News

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