On Friday, March 5, a total of 12,357 British Columbians received COVID-19 vaccine.
That’s pretty good. It’s not nearly the numbers we’re going to have to reach to hit our ultimate goal of vaccinating the vast majority of the province by summer, but it’s not bad. It’s sharply up from a few weeks ago.
Then we got the weekend information blackout. And on Monday, we found that over three days, 22,119 vaccinations had been given. That’s just 7,373 per day.
Is there a magic shield against COVID-19 that protects people on the weekends in this province?
It seems the health authorities must think so, because the urgency of the vaccination campaign goes right out the window on Saturdays and Sundays.
We are climbing out of a deep hole there. We had too little vaccine for far too long. Now we actually have a decent amount – about 50,000 doses were in stock as of mid-week, and tens to hundreds of thousands more on the way.
So why aren’t the health authorities keeping up the pace on the weekends?
We’re about to start mass vaccinations in this province, and most of the vaccination sites in Fraser Health are listed as being open “daily,” but not all. Some of the smaller ones, in communities like Hope and Agassiz, are Monday to Friday. Others are closed Sundays. Most are only open during working hours. Some close at 3:30 p.m.
Why are we doing this? We have thrown money at every aspect of the response to COVID-19, no one in their right mind is going to complain if we pay a bit of overtime to nurses for the one thing that will end the pandemic restrictions sooner.
As we enter this phase, we need to acknowledge that mass vaccination is a complicated logistical project. But we also need to hold leaders to account. We are all in this together, right?
Even on the weekends.