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Fraser Health apologizes for confusion, says no more COVID vaccine pop-up clinics planned

6,000 people were immunized over the past few days
People wait in line for their AstraZeneca vaccination Tuesday at the Cloverdale Recreation Centre. The drop-in clinic ran from 12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. for people 30 years of age and older. According to a news release, the clinic was to support people who live in the ten high transmission neighbourhoods in the Fraser Health region. (Aaron Hinks photo)

The CEO of B.C.’s most populous health authority has apologized for confusion caused by their pop-up vaccine clinics and said no more were planned at this time.

Fraser Health CEO Dr. Victoria Lee said she “sincerely apologizes” for the pop-up clinics, which were launched Sunday with little warning. They were targeted at some of the 13 communities identified as “high-risk” by the provincial government.

“I’d like to start acknowledging the confusion and frustration that some people have… (the) negative experiences that people have had, and recognize that there could have been improvements made in some of our communication, as well as strategies to manage our minds on the ground,” Lee said.

“The intent of these pop-up clinics was to supplement the provincial registration and immunization system by reaching out to sometimes difficult to reach populations, and to ensure that we’re immunizing as many people as possible in these high transmission communities.”

The pop-up clinics soon faced criticism for their last-minute announcements. The first, in South Langley Township, ran from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Langley Event Centre and targeted people ages 40 and up. It was announced seven minutes after it began.

Three others, which ran on Tuesday in Cloverdale, Port Coquitlam and Surrey North, were also announced seven minutes after their start time.

In total, there were 10, Lee said: six in Surrey, one in North Delta, one in South Langley, one in Port Coquitlam and one in West Abbotsford. All but the Port Coquitlam clinics had people taking down postal codes to ensure that people only from the high-risk communities were able to get a vaccine.

Lee said a total of 6,000 people were vaccinated at the pop-up clinics, just three per cent of whom were under the age of 30. A national panel has recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine for people aged 30 and up.

At a later press conference Thursday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the province would work with Fraser Health to improve on the pop-up clinics, but that they were out of AstraZeneca vaccine for the week.

READ MORE: 30-year-olds were able to get vaccinated at two drop-in clinics in Fraser Health region


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