In early August, CBC reported “B.C. COVID-19 cases surge in young people as health officials urge more people to get vaccinated.” In that report, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said 95 percent of people who have COVID-19 right now in B.C. have not been vaccinated or have received only one dose. As a result of this situation, the province is shifting its focus away from mass COVID-19 clinics to smaller walk-in clinics in neighbourhoods, even on popular beaches. No appointment needed.
Marc Greidanus, an Emergency Room physician in Chilliwack, B.C., and a member of Heartland Christian Reformed Church, was also looking for ways to bring vaccines to people in his community that didn’t require them to sign up for advance appointments or stand in long lines. North Chilliwack, in particular, he said, is the least vaccinated area of Fraser Health by a significant margin. He recently came up with the idea of holding a vaccine clinic at a community market. “Come for your first dose on Sunday,” Marc announced in a Facebook post, “and I will buy you lunch. Drop in for first and second doses. Live music, fresh fruit, tater tots and antibodies! . . . If you have an issue with vaccines, I am happy to discuss.”
“The vaccine clinic was great,” he said afterwards. “The free lunch was just a promo. I only had to buy three lunches but we gave out 30 or 40 first doses [of vaccine] which was great. I didn’t give a single shot – just answered questions, roamed the market and biked around the neighbourhood dragging in people from various local parks.”
“In the larger picture,” confessed Greidanus, “one vaccine clinic will not win the day, but the most encouraging aspect was the community response. The market organizers were welcoming to Fraser Health. The local business association let us use their AC to keep vaccines cool. We got power from the neighbouring architects. Rotary volunteers were effective greeters. And people came out to get shots to protect themselves and the people around them. It is the spirit of community service that gives me optimism.”
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