Shots at the beach: White Rock pop-up clinic targets the unvaccinated

WHITE ROCK, B.C. —
Sun worshippers on their way to the water passed by a pop-up vaccination clinic at Crescent Beach in White Rock on Tuesday, where staff wore colourful leis and Hawaiian shirts.

“Our idea is that with this warm weather, people are going to enjoy the beach. And we wanted to make a clinic as accessible as possible for everyone,” said Megan Nilson with the Fraser Health mobile vaccination team.

There were 250 Pfizer doses up for grabs, no appointment necessary.

“There are gaps we are seeing in the community, and I think one of those gaps are youth, and so it makes perfect sense. Where are the youth going to be in the summer? Probably on the beach,” said Dr. Birinder Narang, the co-founder of the “This is Our Shot” campaign.

While the beach clinic was focused on attracting people who hadn’t yet had their first shot, second doses were also available if there was capacity, for patients at least seven weeks past their first vaccine.

Shaun Ruetz and Dan McColl both dropped in for their second shots.

“This was great, I liked it. It was more convenient than going to an arranged site, because here I am, and it’s done,” said McColl.

“Other than the parking issues, it’s fantastic. It’s definitely more cheerful to come down here,” said Ruetz. “I think if they make it more accessible and make it seem like, oh, I’m wandering by here I’ll get the shot. It’s right here, why not?”

Narang said the majority of people at drop-in clinics are there for second doses. “However, every single first dose that we get in these clinics will still help the community,” he added.

Around 22 per cent of eligible British Columbians still haven’t had their first dose. Narang acknowledges it will be difficult to convince some of them.

“It’s definitely harder to reach the people who have fixed belief around conspiracy and their thought behind the whole vaccination process and COVID,” he said.

But he believes B.C. can get over 80 per cent of eligible residents vaccinated, and casual, drop-in clinics like the one at Crescent Beach can help with that goal.

“I think convenience and accessibility will be a key to this,” said Narang.

There were nurses and clinic staff on hand to answer questions at the beach clinic, for people who were hesitant, but not completely opposed to vaccination.

“We want our clinics to be accessible for all those who are eligible, and so this is one of the examples that Fraser Health is doing in the community to reach that last 20 per cent,” said Nilsen.

There will be another pop-up beachside clinic at Cultus Lake on Friday.

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