OPEN LETTER to BC Minister of Health and Vancouver Coastal Health Chair

It is wonderful that some of the seniors may be able to book an appointment with the help of family, friends, or support workers; sadly, there are those who unfortunately do not have access to such a support network I have heard from some of the elderly seniors in Vancouver East who are concerned that they will have difficulty in registering for the vaccine due to language barriers.
To help facilitate access to this potentially life-saving immunization for vulnerable people, especially for the elderly where language and mobility is an issue, I would like to offer two suggestions for your consideration.

"Honourable Adrian Dix Minister of Health
MLA Vancouver-Kingsway Room 337 Parliament Buildings Victoria, BC V8V 1X4

Dr Penny Ballem
Chair, Vancouver Coastal Health

March 9, 2021

Re: Recommendations for the Phase 2 Immunization Plan

Dear Minister Dix and Dr. Penny Ballem,

I want to write and extend my appreciation for all that the Province of British Columbia has done in the face of the pandemic and all its effort in providing support to our communities including the coordination of the historic undertaking, of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.

Phase 1 of B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan saw 275,000 long-term care residents and staff, people in rural and remote Indigenous communities, as well as health-care workers that focus on COVID-19 patients vaccinated, I have every confidence in the health professionals as they continue their monumental effort in getting everyone vaccinated.

As Vancouver Coastal Heath enters Phase 2, I have been advised that the vaccine roll-out is focused on immunizing seniors 90 years and older and Indigenous peoples 65+.

I would like to acknowledge VCH's thoughtfulness in ensuring the information for Phase 2 of the Immunization Plan is multilingual. In addition, VCH has further noted that friends and family could assist the seniors in the registration process.

It is wonderful that some of the seniors may be able to book an appointment with the help of family, friends, or support workers; sadly, there are those who unfortunately do not have access to such a support network I have heard from some of the elderly seniors in Vancouver East who are concerned that they will have difficulty in registering for the vaccine due to language barriers.

To help facilitate access to this potentially life-saving immunization for vulnerable people, especially for the elderly where language and mobility is an issue, I would like to offer two suggestions for your consideration.

1) Incorporate a multi-lingual phone-line to accommodate the needs of the residents who will face language barriers

2) Provide block booking and a mobile immunization station for the seniors buildings. For example,

Grace Seniors Home houses 5 residents over 100, 28 residents over 90, and another 28 over 80 years of age. Chau Luen houses approximately 70 seniors over 80 years old. Mobile immunization stations would expedite and increase the accessibility of vaccine distribution immensely in buildings such as these.

I believe these two measures will greatly assist seniors in accessing the vaccine.

I thank you sincerely for the monumental effort and undertaking carried out by the B.C. government in helping to keep everyone safe.

Warm regards,
Jenny Kwan
Member of Parliament for Vancouver East"

 

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