Vaccine-seekers line up overnight at Surrey, B.C., clinic offering Pfizer to people 18+
VANCOUVER -- Eager vaccine-seekers began lining up overnight at a Surrey, B.C., drop-in clinic promising shots to any adult living in one of the region's transmission hotspots.
The new clinic at Newton Athletic Park was administering doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Wednesday, drawing hundreds upon hundreds of anxious takers who spent several hours awaiting their turn for a jab.
Some of the people waiting complained about queue-jumpers, with multiple family members sometimes arriving to join a relative in line.
Others expressed concern and confusion about the way the line was managed, with some people receiving a ticket for their appointment and others not.
"They said there was 800 doses and they counted us at about 530," said Sam Rai, a Surrey resident who told CTV News he was hopeful that he would receive a shot.
"I hope so… I don't have a ticket."
Unlike the three drop-in clinics opened in the Fraser Health region on Tuesday, the Newton location was not announced publicly – possibly to prevent people from other areas from trying to sneak a dose.
Staff at the Newton clinic were checking identification to confirm people's postal code before letting them receive a shot on Wednesday.
It's unclear how officials disseminated information about the clinic. Several people in line told CTV News they learned about it through word of mouth.
Fraser Health did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday, but Health Minister Adrian Dix said the pop-up clinics have been successful, at least in that "a lot of people were immunized."
"I think we could have done better in terms of communication, and we acknowledge that, and we are working on that," Dix said.
By around 2:30 p.m., the clinic had run out of vaccine and some people who had been waiting up to six hours learned they would not be receiving a shot.
At least one of the clinics opened on Tuesday, at the Poirier Forum in Coquitlam, was open on Wednesday as well. Staff told CTV News they were also administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, with 500 doses up for grabs, which were also accounted for by the early afternoon.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Shannon Paterson