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This new tool helps Metro Vancouverites find COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Struggling to book a vaccine appointment?
A new tool allows Metro Vancouverites to know when they can book the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine or when a drop-in clinic will open in their area.

Struggling to book a vaccine appointment?

People across Canada have shared their frustration on social media after they struggled to book coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine appointments at pharmacies or find out when drop-in clinics would open in their neighbourhoods. 

In response, a group of volunteers called Vaccine Hunters Canada launched a website in March to help eligible Canadians book vaccine appointments as soon as possible.

At first glance, the group's Twitter feed looks decidedly Ontario-centric. However, the administrators advise people to enter the name of the account into the Twitter search bar followed by their city or the first three letters of their postal code in order to find the most up-to-date information. 

Vaccine Hunters BC

For people living in B.C., a different group has launched a Twitter account exclusively for people in the province called Vaccine Hunters BC. The group states that it is not affiliated with Vaccine Hunters Canada and it does not have a website. 

Vaccine Hunters BC shares when pharmacies will have available appointments for AstraZeneca shots as well as drop-in clinic information. The account also retweets information from people who find drop-in clinics when they are open, too. 

'Flabbergasted': Metro Vancouverites react to AstraZeneca 'drop-in clinic' roll-out

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 said 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, Dix 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." 

The 16 'high-transmission neighbourhoods' in B.C.

With hospitals in the Fraser Health Authority are already operating at capacity, while others are quickly filling up, B.C. 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.