Fraser Health has plans to reopen three mass vaccination sites in Surrey in the new year.
A statement from Fraser Health says that to support people accessing COVID-19 booster doses, the health authority will be setting up vaccine clinics at Guildford Recreation Centre, South Surrey Recreation Centre and the Cloverdale Recreation Centre.
Fraser Health noted it expects the three sites to be fully operational in early January, but no word yet on days or times.
The Surrey North COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre in Whalley is currently open five days a week, but will increase to a daily centre in January.
It was on Tuesday (Dec. 21) that Health Minister Adrian Dix said Fraser Health had secured the Guildford site, with others to come.
He added that since the week prior, the health authorities has made “significant” progress to ramp up vaccine capacity. In Vancouver Coastal Health, the authority has secured the Vancouver Convention Centre once again, which represents a potential capacity of 130,000 shots in January, which would serve the whole of the Lower Mainland.
“The increase in capacity will allow an accelerated program and ensure wait times remain reasonable,” said Dix. “We won’t be offering them to everyone all at once, we’re going to go through age category by age category, based on risk, based on the medical evidence that supports this program.”
Booster doses for all British Columbians aged 18 and older were announced on Oct. 26.
Data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control shows that as of Dec. 19, about 54.8 per cent of Surrey’s over-70 population has received a booster.
Currently, Surrey’s only daily testing and immunization site is located at 14577 66 Ave., which is open 9:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
However, the immunization portion of the centre will be closed Dec. 25, 26 and Jan. 1. But the drive-thru clinic will still be available.
Now with the Omicron variant ripping through B.C.’s population and daily case counts hitting an all-time-high, Fraser Health has seen an increase in demand for COVID-19 testing services in the City of Surrey.
Earlier in the week, the drive-thru lineup, stretched for blocks along 148 Street, both northbound and southbound. Some social media users said the lineup moved quickly, though.
“No one who has a confirmed appointment time is being turned away,” said Dixon Tam, Fraser Health communications officer. “Those who need a COVID-19 test but don’t want to wait have the option of taking a saline gargle test home with them and then dropping it off at the site later.”
– With files from Aaron Hinks
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