Educators from SD42 joined others from across the Lower Mainland and flocked to Surrey on Tuesday, April 6, after hearing they might be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Sheelagh Brothers, a Grade 8 Humanities teacher in New Westminster, said the educators heard that there was a chance for walk-ins to get leftover vaccines.
My wife and I teach in Maple Ridge and were turned away around 7:30. We were told there would be no vaccines for teachers from outside Surrey for the next few days due to concerns over their own supply.
— Scott McCafferty (@ScottMcCaff) April 7, 2021
However, after a long lineup formed outside the vaccination location, a manager came out, and told the crowd that it had been a mistake and they were only to vaccinate Surrey teachers, Brothers explained.
Thomas Haney secondary teacher Scott McCafferty and his wife Julie, who teaches at Alexander Robinson elementary, also went to Surrey in search of the jab.
“My My wife and I were turned away around 7:30. We were told there would be no vaccines for teachers from outside Surrey for the next few days due to concerns over their own supply,” tweeted McCafferty.
Brothers posted a picture of the lineup. She tweeted this was her second try at getting a leftover vaccine and she had been turned away each time.
“My understanding was the location didn’t want vaccines to spoil and be thrown away,” said Trevor Takasaki head of the Maple Ridge Teachers Association.
He heard that at about 5 p.m. the vaccination location sent out word that if you could prove you were an educator by providing a pay stub, and could make it on time before they ran out of vaccine, then you could receive a shot.
These are all teachers standing in line at a clinic in Surrey, hoping to get a #Covidvaccine. The catch: we don't teach in Surrey. There are no clinics set up yet in New West, Langley, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Vancouver. They have vaccines here. We'd like some protection please. #bced pic.twitter.com/vFc22niYzp
— Sheelagh Brothers (@SheeBrothers) April 7, 2021
“They got direction within a relatively short period of time to stop that and teachers who had driven there, or were on their way there were told to turn around and not bother,” he said.
Teachers, he said, want the vaccine. And with the pause in the AstraZeneca, it is unclear when SD42 teachers will be getting the jab.
Takasaki noted there was a sense of desperation for teachers to race to that location.
“Teachers got their hopes up over Spring Break that they would be coming back to a vaccination,” said Takasaki.
“There’s no clear directive right now,” he added.
And teachers are becoming more concerned about the spread of variants.
“That, of course, has added to a bit of the anxiety,” he said.
Teachers from kindergarten to Grade 12 were told that they would be getting get their first dose of the AstraZeneca/SII COVISHIELD vaccine starting in April because they are considered frontline workers – with priority given to the Surrey School District because of the high amount of COVID cases.
However, the province temporarily suspended the use of the AstraZeneca for people under the age of 55-years, “until further notice”.
“We don’t know where things stand exactly right now, other than teachers are still on the priority list as frontline workers,” said Takasaki, who is hoping to get some clarification soon.
What he said is most frustrating is that places like Whistler Blackcomb where there were people breaking the rules and partying get prioritized for vaccinations.
“Whereas our district, doing the right thing, making the right choices and still interacting with the students, interacting with a lot of people, and they are not prioritized,” he said, adding that teachers are more likely to get a vaccine quicker by age, rather than profession.
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