Concerns are being raised about the difficulty of booking a COVID-19 booster shot in the Cowichan Valley. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Concerns are being raised about the difficulty of booking a COVID-19 booster shot in the Cowichan Valley. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Lack of COVID-19 booster appointments in Cowichan Valley area raises concerns

Island Heath asks for patience

Cobble Hill’s Karen Dieckmann is shocked that she had to go outside of the Cowichan Valley to get her COVID-19 booster shot.

She said she received notification that she could book her booster shot on Jan. 9, and when she tried to book it, there was no site in the Valley where she could go to get it.

“I called the telephone number provided on screen for questions or to book via telephone,” Dieckmann said.

“I was eventually given an option on Salt Spring Island, 11 days from then. I then asked why it was the only option, and no answer was provided. I eventually was able to book an appointment outside of our community, in Langford.”

RELATED STORY: B.C. AHEAD OF SCHEDULE ON SCHEDULE ON COVID-19 BOOSTER CAMPAIGN: HEALTH MINISTER

Dieckmann said she’s a senior and didn’t relish driving the Malahat in the winter and in the dark with rain forecast for her return journey.

Dieckmann said she managed to make it to her appointment, but she is very concerned for people who do not have the resources or ability to access services outside of the Cowichan Valley.

“There are multitudes of people with significant barriers who cannot do that or who just won’t do that,” she said.

“If the objective is to get and keep as many people vaccinated and protected as possible, then you don’t fail to provide the infrastructure to efficiently and readily ensure that can happen. Ironically, television news reports indicated government officials expressing dismay that many people eligible for boosters are not doing so. I think I may know the answer as to why that is in the Cowichan Valley.”

RELATED STORY: BE SURE YOU’RE REGISTERED FOR COVID-19 BOOSTERS, B.C. SENIORS ADVISED

In a statement, Island Health said it is ramping up clinics and staffing resources across the region to provide booster doses as quickly as possible, and that on Jan. 11, approximately 200 new appointment times were added to the clinic at the Cowichan Community Centre for Jan 14- 15.

“We are recruiting for additional immunizers specifically for Cowichan given the strong community interest,” the statement said.

“New appointments are added frequently and we encourage people to check back often. People can also check the system after they book to see if earlier appointments may be available. Booster dose appointments are also available to book through the Immunize BC website at more than 160 pharmacies across Island Health. We ask for people’s patience as we work to roll-out booster doses while also staffing other essential health-care services during this challenging time.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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