PHOTOS: South Surrey seniors grateful for ‘freedom’ of COVID-19 vaccine

An Amica White Rock resident receives the COVID-19 vaccine during a Jan. 15, 2021 clinic. (Tracy Holmes photo)An Amica White Rock resident receives the COVID-19 vaccine during a Jan. 15, 2021 clinic. (Tracy Holmes photo)
Amica White Rock resident Effie Mason, 86, receives the COVID-19 vaccine during a Jan. 15, 2021 clinic. (Tracy Holmes photo)Amica White Rock resident Effie Mason, 86, receives the COVID-19 vaccine during a Jan. 15, 2021 clinic. (Tracy Holmes photo)
Amica White Rock resident Manfred Pohn receives the COVID-19 vaccine during a Jan. 15, 2021 clinic. (Tracy Holmes photo)Amica White Rock resident Manfred Pohn receives the COVID-19 vaccine during a Jan. 15, 2021 clinic. (Tracy Holmes photo)
A COVID-19 vaccine-filled syringe awaits injection during a Jan. 15, 2021 clinic at Amica White Rock. (Tracy Holmes photo)A COVID-19 vaccine-filled syringe awaits injection during a Jan. 15, 2021 clinic at Amica White Rock. (Tracy Holmes photo)
A syringe is filled with the COVID-19 vaccine. (Tracy Holmes photo)
Vials of the COVID-19 vaccine. (Tracy Holmes photo)Vials of the COVID-19 vaccine. (Tracy Holmes photo)

“Freedom” and “relief” were among words buzzing around the Amica White Rock residence Friday morning, as nearly a dozen nurses worked to immunize the facility’s 160 residents from COVID-19 by day’s end.

The clinic, scheduled twice previously but ultimately pushed to Jan. 15, was among the last held in Fraser Health long-term care and assisted-living facilities since the health authority began its rollout. According to a news release issued Friday morning, all 151 such facilities in the region were to have completed vaccination clinics by the end of the day.

Larry O’Brien, outgoing chair of the residents’ council at Amica White Rock, described receiving the vaccine as akin to getting out of jail.

“I feel free,” the senior said, moments after rolling up his sleeve for the first of the vaccine’s two doses.

“Getting that vaccine in my arm, it’s such a big relief. This is good protection, even without phase 2.”

Senior care-home residents – who have been particularly impacted by health orders enacted since the pandemic was declared last March – were among groups identified as high-priority to receive the vaccine. It arrived in Canada in mid-December, and B.C. received its first shipments about a week later.

READ MORE: Canada gives first doses of COVID-19 vaccine

READ MORE: Dr. Bonnie Henry receives her first dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

Both the Moderna and Pfizer versions require two doses over several weeks to reach their highest effectiveness.

At Amica Friday, health care workers administering the shots could be heard assuring residents it was not a live vaccine, and that they need not worry about contracting the virus from it. As well, that they might experience flu-like symptoms after receiving it, and that it would take about two weeks for the vaccine to start taking effect.

Justin Penney, Amica’s community relations director, said the excitement in the air was palpable Friday morning as the vaccination clinic got underway.

“We’ve been ready,” he said of the facility’s preparedness for the vaccine rollout. “We’ve been wanting it as soon as we can get it.”

Penney said he received his first dose at an undisclosed off-site location on Thursday (Jan. 14). The first of Amica’s staff members received it on Dec. 27, and any leftover doses from Friday’s clinic will go first to any staff who have not yet received it, he said.

(The issue of who gets excess vaccine doses from such clinics was thrust into the limelight earlier this week, after Fraser Health officials confirmed that a director at Peace Arch Hospital and two of her family members were offered doses leftover from a Dec. 28 clinic at Royal Columbian Hospital.)

READ MORE: UPDATE: Peace Arch Hospital staff did not jump COVID-19 vaccine queue: Fraser Health

Penney said he has had no side effects from the vaccine so far, and that everyone is looking forward to the greater freedoms that it is anticipated to bring. Things like hugs and holding hands make “a huge difference in the lives of our residents,” he said.

Helene and Austin Cable said they miss family and the freedom to go shopping, and have been “very much looking forward” to receiving the vaccine.

It means “freedom,” Austin said.

Exactly when hugs and other “normal” activities will be able to resume, however, remains unclear, Penney said.

“It’s not going to be a snap of the finger,” he said.

Amica, he continued, is listening to Fraser Health, and will continue with the protective measures that are currently in place until told it is safe to do otherwise.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusSurreyvaccinesWhite Rock

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

Just Posted

Labour Minister Harry Bains addressing Surrey Board of Trade digital meeting Friday. (Screen shot)
Labour Minister says Surrey businesses’ resilience through pandemic ‘impressive’

‘Surrey’s effort in bending the curve has been among the best,’ Harry Bains says

Volunteers from Semiahmoo Secondary joined with members of the Lower Mainland Green Team and the White Rock and South Surrey Naturalists Wednesday to remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park. (Contributed photo)
Students, volunteers remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park

Day-long project a collaboration between city, Lower Mainland Green Team

Raj Singh Toor (left) with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudea after an official apology for the treatment of Komagata Maru passengers in 1914. (Contributed photo)
Request made for City of White Rock to honour Komagata Maru passengers

Raj Singh Toor confident city will rename ‘street, park or city asset’ in honour of 1914 tragedy

Cloverdale robbery suspect. (Surrey RCMP photo)
Man charged in relation to four separate robberies in Cloverdale

Jake Eric Henderson allegedly committed four gas station robberies in January

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

Most Read