First responders in one of British Columbia’s biggest COVID-19 hotspots will be receiving immunization ahead of schedule.
Fraser Health tells Daily Hive that RCMP and firefighters in both Surrey and White Rock will be provided with COVID-19 vaccines. The announcement comes shortly after a number of TransLink workers in Burnaby and Surrey were made eligible to receive them as well.
The health authority says that it’s part of a “targeted strategy to prevent further COVID-19 transmission” in the two areas.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addressed the decision during Monday afternoon’s press conference, along with concerns from other first responders around BC who haven’t received a vaccination yet.
“All fire services across the province, all police service across the province, all first responders will be getting vaccine,” she said. “We need to prioritize by where the risk is greatest, and that means that some people will get it before others.”
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Henry stressed that not everybody can get it at once and that “we need people to be patient.”
“We know how important these services are. That’s why we’ve been targeting these services from the very beginning, but we need to move through this methodically, and everybody needs to be patient and support each other.”
Frontline workers across the province were scheduled to receive vaccination in early April. The program was paused, however, due to the suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine for those under the age of 55.
“Our worker program that was to start as we received more of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be put on pause for now,” Henry explained earlier this month.
The program was meant to provide an AstraZeneca or COVISHIELD vaccination to more than 300,000 frontline workers throughout the month of April. Eligible workers to receive immunization included first responders, teachers and educational staff, childcare staff, and grocery store staff.