Canada

First responders in Surrey, White Rock to start receiving COVID-19 vaccine Monday

First responders in Surrey and White Rock will start receiving the COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday.

According to an internal memo shared with Global News, all Surrey and White Rock RCMP members, Surrey Fire and Rescue Services staff and White Rock Fire Rescue staff are now eligible for the vaccine.

The memo says the shots will be administered Monday or Tuesday and all members can book online using a special link and access code.

More calls to vaccinate firefighters and police in B.C.

Read more: ‘Our staff are being compromised’ — Vancouver fire chief joins calls for first responder vaccinations

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The news comes after concerns were raised last week by Surrey’s fire chief that public safety could be in jeopardy if COVID-19 cases continue to rise among his members.

The province’s plan to give first responders priority access to COVID-19 vaccinations stalled when federal officials halted the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in people under the age of 55 due to concerns over blood clots.

“We want to obviously get them immunized,” B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix told Global News on Saturday.

“No one could control what happened with the AstraZeneca.”

Read more: Two Vancouver firefighters test positive for coronavirus, others potentially exposed

Eight firefighters and police officers in Surrey have contracted COVID-19 recently, while 18 others are in self-isolation, according to fire Chief Larry Thomas, who is concerned that rising cases could impact staffing levels.

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Members of the Vancouver Police Department would also like to see the restart of the priority vaccine rollout. Ralph Kaisers, the president of the union representing more than 1,450 front-line police officers, jail guards and special constables, said only a few have received the shot mostly due to being in the right place at the right time.

Whistler mayor calls for community vaccination program to assist threatened essential workers

Read more: COVID-19 cases among Whistler firefighters prompt call for vaccinations

In addition to the first responders in Surrey and White Rock, Fraser Health will start vaccinating all transit workers in Burnaby and Surrey starting Tuesday.

In an email to employees, Coast Mountain Bus Company president Mike McDaniel said Fraser Health has identified these two locations as priorities for receiving the vaccine.

Vaccinations will take place at two locations: one in Burnaby and one in Surrey.

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McDaniel said the vaccine will be given to all employees who regularly or semi-regularly work as transit operators, maintenance, farebox revenue, T-Comm and depot staff, among others.

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