Surrey RCMP Sgt. Elenore Sturko receives her COVID-19 vaccination. (Contributed photo)

Surrey RCMP Sgt. Elenore Sturko receives her COVID-19 vaccination. (Contributed photo)

COVID-19 vaccination gives ‘peace of mind’ to Surrey, White Rock first responders

Immunization clinics underway for emergency personnel

There was a sense of “jubilation” in the Surrey RCMP ranks Saturday evening after officers learned they can now receive COVID-19 immunization.

“People felt a big boost to the morale,” said Surrey RCMP Sgt. Elenore Sturko, who received her first shot Monday morning. “It means a lot to us, we are grateful.”

Last month, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the high number of COVID-19 cases in Surrey prompted health officials to consider giving vaccine priority to Surrey educators and first responders.

RCMP and fire services in both Surrey and White Rock learned over the weekend that first responders would now be eligible to receive a vaccine. Fraser Health started the immunization program Monday morning.

While Surrey RCMP had a contingency plan in place in the instance of increasing COVID-19 cases, Sturko said the news helped alleviate a sense of anxiety that was present among officers.

“We, of course, have (personal protective equipment) and all of our other safety precautions and measures in place. But still, there is a level of concern,” Sturko said. “But now having this extra layer of protection for not only our officers and employees, but for the community, gives us some peace of mind.”

Sturko said it’s not lost on officers that requesting vaccine priority was a “big ask.”

“We are extremely grateful and we will continue to serve the community and we appreciate that these have been made available to our members.”

RELATED: ‘Perfect storm’ of variants, increasing COVID cases are concerning for Surrey fire chief

Surrey Fire Chief Larry Thomas echoed Sturko in that staff are “very grateful” for the opportunity to receive vaccine.

“The work they do, the public safety services they provide, can only be delivered through a limited number of workers. So this does provide some relief,” Thomas said. “Once their immunities are built up, we will not be having staffing challenges as we go forward. So that’s a real positive perspective.”

Last week, Thomas said between Surrey RCMP and Surrey Fire Service, there were 18 confirmed cases that resulted in an additional 18 people being required to isolate for two weeks.

“That has continued,” Thomas said. “Even this morning we know of another confirmed case that’s requiring a crew to be isolated.”

Thomas said he wanted to acknowledge the provincial health officer, minister of health, the BC Government and “especially the wonderful immunization team at Fraser Health.”

White Rock Fire Department Chief Ed Wolfe said the immunization effort addresses one of the key concerns he has at the helm of the department.

“My number one concern with running an essential service is maintaining the operational capacity,” Wolfe said.

While Wolfe did not provide specifics on how many confirmed cases of COVID-19 the department has had, he said between White Rock RCMP and the fire department, there have been a number of cases.

He anticipates all members of his crew will be given an opportunity to receive their first shot of vaccine this week.

“It eliminates a little bit of risk as far as being able to maintain our current level of service. My big concern is what happens if COVID really took a hard hit on our department. We would be very limited coming from a small department.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

firefightersRCMPSurreyWhite Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

White Rock’s Joan Bywater shows the setup she uses when participating in online paint parties hosted by the Seniors Come Share Society. (Contributed photo)
PHOTOS: Virtual gallery showcases inspirations of Semiahmoo Peninsula seniors

‘What is art if not something that motivates more art?’

Surrey Eagles head coach Cam Keith speaks to his players during the break in the action at a game last week against the Coquitlam Express. (Damon James photo)
Surrey Eagles shut out Powell River Kings as BCHL season nears end

Goaltender Tommy Scarfone stops 19 shots to earn shutout
Surrey-born hoops player Jasman Sangha signs with NCAA Div. 1 team in Texas

‘We love Surrey and still have a lot of family there,’ brother says

Lots at the South Surrey Recreation Centre are reserved for people arriving to attend the COVID-19 vaccination clinic. (Tracy Holmes photo)
Surrey records highest monthly increase in COVID-19 cases

Meantime, the city sees first decrease in weekly cases since February

Surrey RCMP officers on scene at a shooting in the 9700-block of 161A Street Tuesday, May 4, 2021.(Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Fatal Guildford shooting of woman leads to murder charge for man, 24

Ali Khudhair charged following death of Keryane Arsenault

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Findings indicate a culture of racism, misogyny and bullying has gripped the game with 64 per cent of people involved saying players bully others outside of the rink. (Pixabay)
Misogyny, racism and bullying prevalent across Canadian youth hockey, survey finds

56% of youth hockey players and coaches say disrespect to women is a problem in Canada’s sport

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Hospital investigating whether Alberta woman who died after AstraZeneca shot was turned away

Woman was taken off life support 12 days after getting vaccine

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The AHL Board of Governors has approved the Vancouver Canucks decision to move their franchise to Abbotsford. (File photo)
AHL approves Canucks’ franchise relocation to Abbotsford

Board of Governors approves move, season set to start on Oct. 15

People line up for COVID-19 vaccination at a drop-in clinic at Cloverdale Recreation Centre on Wednesday, April 27, 2021. Public health officials have focused efforts on the Fraser Health region. (Aaron Hinks/Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread continues with 694 new cases Thursday

Two million vaccine doses reached, hospital cases down

Allayah Yoli Thomas had recently turned 12 years old when she died of a suspected drug overdose April 15. (Courtesy of Adriana Londono)
Suspected overdose death of Vancouver Island 12 year old speaks to lack of supports

Allayah Yoli Thomas was found dead by her friend the morning of April 15

More than 6,000 camping reservations in British Columbia were cancelled as a result of a provincial order limiting travel between health regions. (Unsplash)
1 in 4 camping reservations cancelled in B.C. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

More than 6,500 BC Parks campsite reservations for between April 19 and May 25 have been revoked

Most Read