December 2, 2023

It appears most Tri-Cities residents that want a vaccine against the virus already have one, two or three, leading to the decision to ramp down local clinics.

Twenty months.

That’s how long Coquitlam hosted a mass immunization and testing centre as nurses and frontline workers administered thousands upon thousands of vaccines against COVID-19 since Oct. 5, 2020.

It officially closed end-of-day Tuesday (May 31), meaning local residents still looking for protection against the virus will have to look elsewhere.

The location in the Coquitlam Central SkyTrain park-and-ride overflow lot (2796 Aberdeen Ave.), which acted as a drive-thru for residents to receive an immunization or rapid test, is the most recent large facility to be shut down based on the current demand.

Chilliwack and Delta house the two remaining COVID-19 immunization and testing centres in Fraser Health, alongside other smaller stations and pop-up locations.

One of the highest vaccination rates in the region

But, how many Tri-City residents are still seeking a dose(s)?

According to the latest data by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), it appears most people living in the region who want a vaccine have already received one, two or three — leading to the decision to close certain clinics.

As of May 29, there’s a 90 per cent double-vaccination rate against COVID-19 among residents in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra aged five years and older.

In terms of booster shots, more than 60 per cent of eligible residents over age 12 have chosen to get jabbed a third time.

That makes the Tri-Cities the fourth-highest immunized region in Fraser Health since B.C. gave the official go-ahead to roll-out approved vaccines — 17th in the entire province.

Authority spokesperson Nick Eagland tells the Tri-City News there was a big difference in demand for local vaccinations in the first five months of the year.

“The Coquitlam COVID-19 testing and immunization centre provided 2,313 doses of vaccine in May 2022, down from 11,154 doses in January 2022,” he explains.

“This follows a similar pattern of decreases in demand across other communities.”

The Coquitlam clinic also originally opened following a public outcry.

Fraser Health announced the new COVID-19 testing centre 24 hours after doctors at another clinic meant to be a stop–gap solution said they had burnt out and were forced to close after multiple delays on the part of the health authority. 

In fall 2020, the Influenza Like Illness Assessment Clinic in Port Coquitlam was forced to shut its doors, claiming a lack of staff and resources and encouraging the authority to move up its timeline.

This time, Eagland said it’s not likely the drive-thru clinic will return later this year, but other measures are currently in the works should more COVID-19 variants sprout to life.

“We do not anticipate reopening the Coquitlam COVID-19 testing and immunization centre in the fall or winter, as we plan to use indoor sites during colder weather,” he explains.

“We continue to closely monitor the emergence of new variants and demand for vaccine, and are prepared to ramp up capacity at our clinics if required.”

Eagland notes nearly 4.2 million vaccinations against COVID-19 have taken place across Fraser Health.

Eligible Tri-City residents looking to be immunized against the virus are encouraged to register via B.C.’s GetVaccinated online portal or call 1-833-838-2323.

You can also visit the province’s website for more information on its COVID-19 immunization plan and Fraser Health’s vaccine clinic page for locations.

Poirier Street

Meanwhile, Eagland also suggests utilizing a multi-vaccination clinic situated in the Poirier Admin Building (640 Poirier St.).

It’s now an all-ages facility where residents as young as four months old can receive a does against COVID-19, as well as other different vaccinations.

This includes:

  • COVID-19 vaccine

    • For all eligible people aged five years and older

  • Tdap-IPV vaccine

    • Protects against tetanus diphtheria, whooping cough and polio

  • MMRV vaccine

    • Protects against measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox

As well, Eagland explains residents can visit community pharmacies for similar immunizations.

“Fraser Health is committed to ensuring everyone who wants to be protected against COVID-19 by being immunized has access to the vaccine.”

– with files from Stefan Labbé, Glacier Media



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