Pharmacy Technician Katrina Bonwick draws a does of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine ready for use at the Wheatfield surgery in Luton, England, Thursday, March 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Pharmacy Technician Katrina Bonwick draws a does of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine ready for use at the Wheatfield surgery in Luton, England, Thursday, March 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Langley frontline workers express ‘relief’ and gratitude to know vaccinations imminent

Province announced Thursday vaccine program will be accelerated

COVID-19 vaccines coming in April for frontline workers was welcome news to Langley teachers, first responders, and others who had higher exposure risks than the average person.

On Thursday the provincial government announced the acceleration of its vaccine program in British Columbia to include firefighters, police, and child care, manufacturing, grocery store, postal and K-12 education workers.

The move comes as health officials procured additional supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine and the province says it is ahead in the age-based vaccine roll-out.

Beginning next month those identified by public health in “priority groups” will start to receive their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

READ MORE: B.C. pharmacists, pharmacies given green light to administer COVID-19 vaccines

Tanya Kerr, president of Langley Teachers’ Association, representing 1,924 members, said the news came as a “surprise,” but local educators are “ready for the relief.”

“We’re grateful that it’s happening sooner rather than later,” she said.

Teachers, among other frontline workers, were not included in the province’s Phase 1 and Phase 2 immunization plan that saw residents and staff of long-term care facilities receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and later seniors and hospital staff.

When Kerr is offered the vaccine, she said she’ll be ready to roll up her sleeve.

“I trust in our medical system… I will take it,” she said.

Similarly, Langley firefighters are also breathing a sigh of relief.

“It’s good news,” said Township of Langley assistant fire chief Dale Steeple.

“We’ve been waiting for that [announcement]. It’s going to be a positive effect for our career members… along with our paid-on-call members.”

In November, the Township fire department had several members test positive for coronavirus. In March 2020, the department saw seven members enter self-isolation as a result of an exposure while on duty.

“We’ve not had any other outbreaks,” Steeple confirmed.

City of Langley deputy fire chief Scott Kennedy said the department is “fortunate” they have had no outbreaks during the pandemic.

Kennedy said firefighters have been waiting for news of when members would be offered a vaccine.

“I think, overall, the idea of just being able to get vaccinated… is a sense of relief,” he said.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Health officials give timetable for vaccinating all B.C. adults by July

But it’s not lost on Kennedy that other frontline staff are also waiting for jabs.

“We’re not the only essential service group… we’re all competing for limited amount of vaccine,” he said.

There are roughly 40 City firefighters, and about 200 in the Township who will be eligible to receive vaccinations.

But Steeple noted that safety protocols at fire halls will not change once members are vaccinated.

“[We want to] set an example for the community and to ensure the members are safe,” he said.

Eric Stubbs says it’s “great news.”

“We don’t yet have the specifics as to how the vaccine will be rolled out, to whom and when,” said Stubbs, the assistant commissioner of criminal operations for the B.C. RCMP.”

“We look for learning more in the upcoming days, and once we have a greater understanding, we will ensure that our employees are notified first.”

The province is asking the public not to call into the age-based call centre to book an appointment unless you are eligible. More information about the vaccine roll-out for frontline workers is expected in the coming days.


@JotiGrewal_
joti.grewal@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusfirefightersLangleyLangley School Districtvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Constituent does not consider MP’s ‘unclean’ use a slur

Local letter writer said the biblical quote was not an insult to gay MP

A Worksafe BC temporary closure order posted on the front entrance of the Langley Canadian Tire on Thursday, April 29. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
First Langley business in several days hit by COVID-19 closure order

A plumbing company is the latest to have to shut down temporarily

Acting RCMP Supt. Bhatti told council property crime in Langley City took a “significant” drop in the first three months of the year, but the number of mail theft incidents more than doubled (City of Langley video feed)
VIDEO: Property crime drops in Langley City: report

Reduction called ‘significant’ by acting officer in charge of Langley RCMP detachment

Matt Trulsen of Maple Ridge went on from the PJHL to excel in junior college hockey in the U.S. (Dakota College at Bottineau/Special to The News)
B.C. goaltender excels in U.S. junior college

Matt Trulsen, brother of the late Noah, calls community support ‘amazing’

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Ripy Jubbal of Abbotsford has received a 30-month jail sentence for the fraudulent use of credit cards and credit card data. (Facebook photo)
Abbotsford woman sentenced for $80K in fraudulent credit card purchases

Ripy Jubbal and spouse used identities of 19 different victims, court hears

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

Most Read