Fraser Health 'vax-a-thon' goes for 32 hours, provides 7,000 jabs
Event at Guildford Recreation Centre features entertainment, celebratory atmosphere
The Fraser Health Authority rolled out the red carpet at a local recreation centre for a 32-hour, overnight vaccination clinic aimed at getting more COVID-19 vaccinations in the arms of residents.
"We picked this weekend, it was the summer solstice weekend, it's the longest day of the year and it seemed appropriate to do an overnight clinic," said Christine Mackie, director of operations with the authority.
Mackie said around 5,700 people have made appointments for the event at the Guilford Recreation Centre in Surrey, which has around 7,000 doses available. Same day appointments can be made. Around 1,300 doses are available for drop-ins. The clinic runs from 11 a.m. Saturday to 7 p.m. Sunday.
The authority provided live music for the event from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and organized what is calls a "mask-erade" for those who came after dark on Saturday.
"Dress to impress by wearing your fanciest mask or come as you are when you attend our nighttime immunization clinic," said a release for the event. "Commemorate the moment by strutting down the red carpet and posing for a picture at our selfie station."
Other overnight clinics have been held in other places in Canada, but Fraser Health says this is the first in B.C.
Mackie said Fraser Health wanted to break down barriers for people who so far have not received a vaccination.
"We are at a stage where we know there's other people that want that dose — that first dose — but there may be things that are just getting in the way of that. So just creating that open availability was our main objective and also to create a little bit of buzz around the vaccination."
People at the vaccination clinic on Saturday afternoon said the event was fun and encouraging and helped ease anxiety over getting the jab.
WATCH: Participants talk about their experiences at Fraser Health's 32-hour vaccination clinic.
On Friday, the province announced that nearly 77 per cent of all adults in B.C. and 75 per cent of those 12 and older have now received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Health officials are now working to supply second doses for enhanced protection against COVID-19 and variants for which a single dose of vaccine may not be enough to prevent illness and the further spread of the coronavirus.
"Being fully vaccinated — with both doses — gives you and those around you maximum protection, which is why we encourage everyone to book your second dose as soon as you are eligible," said a release from Friday.
The province also said on Friday that getting fully vaccinated with two doses of World Health Organization-approved vaccines in use in Canada will ensure residents are able to travel outside of the province, once it is safe to do so.
With files from Christina Jung