The Tri-Cities will once again have two dedicated vaccine clinics as of this week.
On Tuesday (Jan. 25), the doors are scheduled to open at the Poirier Forum in Coquitlam (618 Poirier St.) for residents who've booked an appointment to receive an inoculation against COVID-19 — whether that's a first, second or third dose.
Booster shots are said to be the main focus of the forum's re-opening as an immunization station for the first time since early September 2021.
Though not mandatory, officials are encouraging those eligible to get jabbed a third time as B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says it provides better protection against the Omicron variant — considered more highly transmissible than other mutations of the virus.
"If we look at young people who are vaccinated, and even older people who are vaccinated with three doses, your risk of having severe enough illness that you require hospitalization is negligible — it's under one per cent. That's important, it's really good news," she explained during a news conference last Friday (Jan. 21).
"There is incontrovertible evidence ... that vaccination not only reduces your risk of transmission — doesn't eliminate it, but reduces it — and it reduces your risk of passing it on to others, but most importantly, it dramatically reduces your risk of having severe enough illness where you end up in hospital."
Poirier Forum is a 25,000 sq. ft. covered outdoor facility.
The clinic's hours of operation is listed as seven days a week, 10:45 a.m. to 5:05 p.m.
It's size is set to serve hundreds who choose to use it within Fraser Health's vicinity, including parents whose children aged five to 11 also want to get vaccinated.
"Community support of the BC Immunization Plan is critical to the province’s response to and recovery from COVID-19, and immunity in our community," says Graham Stuart, Coquitlam's EOC public information officer.
"In making the Poirier Forum available to Fraser Health, the City acknowledges the cooperation of the sports user groups and City program participants who have either accommodated alternative arrangements or foregone their usual space allocations."
Stuart adds signage is being put in place in and around the Poirier Forum as the indoor space and adjacent parking areas will be used for the clinic.
The interim COVID-19 vaccination clinic inside the Port Coquitlam Community Centre closed after last Saturday's (Jan. 22) round of inoculations, which accompanied about 400 people a day.
Meanwhile, Coquitlam Central SkyTrain station's park and ride overflow lot will continue to serve as a mass immunization clinic and testing centre.
It's operating hours and entry instructions are as follows:
- 2900 Barnet Hwy.
- 9:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. = Monday to Friday
- 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. = Saturdays and Sundays
- Entrance off Mariner Way – east side of Rona. Proceed down the ramp and turn right
- The address will direct you to the main lot on the left but COVID-19 Services are located in the overflow lot to the right
- Do not cut through the Rona parking lot. Please follow the signs
As of this publication (Jan. 24), the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is reporting a 33 per cent third-dose immunization rate among eligible residents aged 12 years and older across the Tri-Cities.
This includes 54 per cent for people aged 50 and up, as well as 76 per cent for seniors above 70 years old.
Kids aged five to 11 in the region have recorded a 54 per cent first-dose rate.
The Tri-Cities also currently posts 91 per cent double- and 93 per cent double-vaccination averages against COVID-19.
You can visit the province's website for more information on its COVID-19 immunization plan.