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New Coquitlam COVID-19 vaccine clinic opens amidst high call volume

Seniors express relief at getting their COVID-19 shots but some may be waiting awhile to book them as Fraser Health says it's experiencing high call volume

Active Tri-City residents in their mid to late 70s visited a Coquitlam sports court this week but it wasn’t to play pickle ball.

Instead, the plucky seniors were getting their COVID-19 vaccines in a mass roll out effort at the Poirier Forum, a fabric-topped gym normally used for community sports.

With the assistance of Air Canada employees and the full support of the city of Coquitlam, dozens of qualifying seniors made their way to the location at 618 Poirier St. for their shots on Monday morning.

“They’ve got it well organized,” said John Fraser, 74, who admitted he felt a sense of relief after getting his shot.

He said while the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel is feeling a little closer for him now that he’s had his vaccine shot, he hopes “more people get it quicker.”

Frank Spalding, 78, said despite some initial apprehension about getting the vaccine because “it’s a new thing,” he’s glad he did it.

He said getting his own shot, and seeing the steady flow of seniors like himself being vaccinated is “bringing us a little closer to getting back to normal.”

Laura Sollero, 78, said her grandson booked her appointment and she was very impressed with how organized the clinic is, as well as the helpful staff. 

Sollero said the past year has been tough, as she hasn’t been able to see her family too much. She’s also been missing her beloved activities like going swimming at the pool or attending the gym. And while she said she’s been walking a lot more to keep active, getting the vaccine “is the first step” to getting her life back to its familiar routines.

The national air carrier is one of several corporate partners supporting B.C.’s vaccination drive.

While seniors born before 1948, including 73-year-olds, are encouraged to book an appointment for their vaccine, Fraser Health is acknowledging that it’s experiencing high call volumes. 

In a Tweet, the regional health authority that serves the Tri-Cities, thanked people for their patience.

Bookings at the the Poirier Forum started March 29, and the new, larger site will replace a temporary immunization clinic at the Douglas College campus in Coquitlam, and will remain open through phases three and four of B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan.

Another vaccine clinic is located off Mariner Way, Coquitlam, it’s a drive-thru clinic. All appointments must be pre-booked.

— with files from Mario Bartel

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