Vancouver Sun

Not every community will get its own vaccinatio­n clinic: Horgan


B.C. Premier John Horgan said Tuesday that not every community in the province will get a mass-vaccinatio­n clinic.

Horgan was responding to questions raised by the B.C. Liberals in the provincial legislatur­e Tuesday over concerns from some provincial mayors that their communitie­s will not have clinics.

Interim B.C. Liberal Leader Shirley Bond had raised concerns from Hope that it wouldn't have its own clinic, and from Delta, that its most populous North Delta area wouldn't have a clinic. Hope, a community of 6,200, is 50 kilometres by road northeast of Chilliwack.

The communitie­s' concerns are that residents would need to travel to get a vaccine, a particular concern for vulnerable and older residents, and one that has the potential to lessen participat­ion.

“I cannot guarantee, as the member wants me to, that every community will have a vaccinatio­n centre, but I can commit that those

in Phase 2, particular­ly the elderly and frail, will have access in their community,” Horgan responded.

Phase 2, which begins this month, will vaccinate those in B.C. aged 80-and-over, and Indigenous and Metis people aged 65-and-over.

The rollout to the larger population won't begin until April.

Bond had said her party had heard from seniors, the frail and elderly, and their families, who are confused and worried about getting vaccines.

“They are afraid they will need to travel to get their vaccinatio­n,” Bond told the legislatur­e.

Horgan said the province will take the Delta mayor's request under considerat­ion.

But he noted that North Delta is right beside Surrey, where three locations have been set aside for mass vaccinatio­n clinics.

“Perhaps a geography lesson would be in order here,” he said.

Delta Mayor George Harvie outlined his concerns in a letter, which he made public, to the Fraser Health Authority and copied to B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix.

Harvie noted he looked forward to the opening of a South Delta vaccinatio­n site but stressed a vaccinatio­n site in North Delta was essential.

He noted that North Delta represents the largest percentage of Delta's population and isn't wellserved by transit: “Having these systems in place will ensure the highest level of vaccinatio­n participat­ion, especially for Delta's most vulnerable population,” wrote Harvie.

The B.C. government has promised 172 mass-vaccinatio­n clinics will be set up throughout the province and expects to begin a large rollout of vaccine beginning in April.

If apportione­d by population, more than 100 clinics would be located in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Few details about the clinics have been released by the province or health authoritie­s. Informatio­n on clinic locations has come from the municipali­ties.

On Tuesday, the City of Kamloops was the latest community to announce it was setting aside space at a curling rink and field house, and had also reserved space at a hockey rink if needed.

The curling rink at McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre, and a portion of the Tournament Capital Centre Fieldhouse, will be provided for seven months, longer if needed.

“We are working in partnershi­p to not only provide space, but also municipal staff at both facilities for cleaning, general facility maintenanc­e, parking control, technical support and also firefighte­rs to support the vaccine rollout,” said Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian.

“This will come at a cost to the city and an inconvenie­nce to our community, but it is absolutely worth it for the health and wellness of our community.”

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John Horgan

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