Coronavirus: Thousands queue for vaccine at Fraser Health pop-up clinics

Coronavirus: Thousands queue for vaccine at Fraser Health pop-up clinics
Coronavirus: Thousands queue for vaccine at Fraser Health pop-up clinics

Thousands of people were vaccinated after waiting for hours in massive queues at pop-up AstraZeneca clinics in the Fraser Valley both today and Tuesday.

The Fraser Health Authority has yet to provide a number of how many people showed up to the hastily announced walk-in clinics in the region, however a staffer at one clinic said on social media that they vaccinated more than 2,000 people.

A huge throng of people, some of whom reportedly camped out overnight, descended on an unannounced clinic at Newton Athletic Park on Wednesday morning and stood in line for a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. News of the clinic, which was not advertised by health authorities, was passed around via word of mouth and on social media

The long wait was in vain for many, however, as the vaccine supply ran dry before everyone could get their jab leading to some angry confrontations between the crowd and the clinic’s staff.

A separate drive-through clinic was also held at the BCIT campus in Burnaby on Wednesday.

The clinics were meant to target people in 10 high-transmission areas in the Fraser Health region, but some residents of Vancouver, which is not deemed a COVID-19 hotspot, were also able to get a shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine as well.

Fraser Health announced in a news release at noon on Tuesday three walk-in vaccination clinics for people aged 30 and over who live in high transmission neighbourhoods like Port Coquitlam.

However, there was already a massive lineup before noon at one of the clinics — the Coquitlam Poirier Centre — leaving many vaccine seekers confused as to how they knew about it before the health authority’s announcement. Some people learned from their doctors or friends, while others found out on social media, such as scouring Vaccine Hunters.

Many social media users reported long waits of up to three or four hours at the Coquitlam Poirier Centre and photos show hundreds of people snaking around a corner to wait.

Twitter user Rina Diaz said they vaccinated 2,445 people Tuesday at Poirier.

“We have never done this many in one day. The wait was long for those in line, but it was a pleasure to check them in for shots,” Diaz tweeted.

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