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Letter: I'm disappointed in the COVID vaccine rollout in New West

COVID vaccine clinics aren't well located and don't have enough appointments available, says this New Westminster senior
COVID vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccine program and its rollout in New Westminster is stirring up criticism.

I've just read your story about the difficulty one senior had in booking an appointment to get vaccinated and how he finally went to Douglas College, waited four hours and managed to get the dose that was left over after all the appointments were done.

Why are there so few vaccination sites in New Westminster? Currently there are two. Fraser Health is opening a new one at the Anvil Centre in downtown New Westminster but will be closing the one at Century House in Uptown New Westminster the same day so no net gain in the number of centres. There are a lot of people living in Uptown, and it seems it would make sense to make it as easy as possible for people to get vaccinated by having multiple vaccination centres.

Why will both centres be in the downtown area? It would also make sense to have several sites spread out within the city so it would be easy for people to get to them. I personally am not too anxious to use public transit in order to get to a vaccination centre downtown, especially when Century House is only two blocks from where I live but will be closed before my age group (70+) is eligible.

The government has known since last spring that vaccinations would be needed and would be coming. Why wasn't all the organization done beforehand so that the minute vaccines were available, the health agencies could just "flip the switch" and everything would be up and running? Instead, the call centres and online booking sites were not ready and had multiple problems, and the vaccination locations are slow in being set up and the locations are changing. The pharmacies could have been organized well in advance so that they would be able to administer shots as soon as they were available instead of waiting until the vaccination program was well underway before getting them involved and then only to administer one vaccine to one limited group. 

I'm quite disappointed with how the vaccination program has been handled. I think the government and the health agencies could have done a much better job and a lot more people could have been vaccinated by now.

S.M. Mansfield, New Westminster