FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Residents have been voicing their confusion online after the Fort St. John vaccine drive-thru gave out seconds doses this weekend.
Many residents said they had received their second dose on the Fort St. John & Area Northern Health Facebook group. However, when the health authority announced the pop-up clinic last week, it was stated only the first dose would be given out.
A member of the group, who wishes to stay anonymous, was very vocal about their frustrations with the drive-thru clinic after it was advertised for the first dose only.
The individual said the decision to “deviate from what was announced to the public was not an ethical one”. They told Energeticcity that residents should be informed of a “major change in policy”.
The resident said they worked for the health authority for almost 35 years and believes staff and volunteers were used to boost dose numbers.
Many residents had received their second dose during the drive-thru clinic— four weeks after their first. As per provincial guidelines, those waiting for their second dose will be notified around eight weeks after receiving their first dose
“It is accurate to say that there was no triage or prioritization of first dose clients and that no one was turned away [Saturday] as long as this 4-week interval was met hence the great response,” said the Fort St. John resident to Energeticcity.
“It is my understanding that it was [Northern Health’s] decision to offer to anyone who showed up as long as 4-week intervals had been met. This subsequent messaging was given to staff and volunteers to share broadly,” said the resident.
In response to residents’ comments, a Northern Health communications representative, “Jessica,” said they’re encouraging people to get their second dose at eight weeks or longer.
The comments were made on Northern Health’s post celebrating the 410 doses given out on Saturday.
“The drive-thru clinics are INTENDED to support people getting their FIRST dose, and staff will be prioritizing first-dose patients. However, as we continually monitor vaccine supply, if there is enough vaccine, we will do second doses that are within the range of 7-8 weeks past first dose.”
There are worries that people receiving their second dose before their eight-week eligibility would potentially prevent people from receiving their first dose, said Jessica.
“We all need to understand that we do not know everyone’s individual circumstances; there are circumstances under which people might be eligible for a second dose sooner than that (e.g. 4 weeks), which we do not need to speculate or comment on.”
The clinic is still available in FSJ on June 14th and 15th from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.Energeticcity reached out to Northern Health and was given a similar response to Jessica’s when responding to resident’s concerns: