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What's the deal with vaccinations for Bowen Islanders?

Bowen Islanders being directed to the mainland for vaccinations
Ron giving thumbs up as he gets his vaccine
Cartoonist Ron Woodall receives his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine from Dr. Susanne Schloegl March 19 at Bowen Island Community School. There are no more vaccination days scheduled for Bowen Island.

Bowen Islanders directed to mainland for vaccinations. 

There are no more Vancouver Coastal Health vaccination clinics scheduled for Bowen Island on the VCH website. So far there have been three on-island clinic days with the last one taking place April 10.

"VCH regularly monitors and adjusts clinic dates and hours of operation based on appointments, vaccine availability and the age demographics of different communities," said the health authority in an emailed statement Wednesday. "As VCH works through vaccinating residents based on the age cohort system, we may open additional clinic dates on Bowen Island. This will be based on community needs, and clinical and operational feasibility.”

It also said that Bowen residents are welcome at clinics across the VCH region. 


Bowen physician Dr. Susanne Schloegl said that there were so few people at last weekend's drop-in vaccination clinic for those 70 and over that they packed up early. "It was kind of embarrassing," said Schloegl. "I thought there was going to be this big rush of people and the only people that were there were younger [non-eligible] ones."

When it comes to travelling to West Vancouver for a vaccination, Schloegl suggests it's fairly low risk. "We're not going that far out of our catchment area, but driving to Richmond or that sort of thing is a little bit pushing it." The West Vancouver clinic is a "very well run clinic," said Schloegl.

As per provincial policy, Bowen Islanders have never been told how many cases have been on-island. "I would just assume that it's around because it has been sporadically since the beginning," said Schloegl. "And people should act accordingly." (VCH also doesn't tell Schloegl how many cases there are or have been on-island – she only knows about them if people happen to be her patients).

AstraZeneca at the pharmacy now available to anyone over 55 

More AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine appointments are available for Bowen Islanders 55 and over at Cates Medicine Centre. 

The pharmacy is receiving another 100 doses next week and as of Wednesday afternoon, has slots available. Islanders can book appointments online and watch for updates on the Cates Medicine Centre Facebook page.

B.C. has paused use of the AstraZeneca vaccine on those younger than 55 due to concerns of rare blood clots. 

The AstraZeneca vaccination stream is entirely separate from the Vancouver Coastal Health administered Pfizer and Moderna vaccination stream. The VCH vaccinations are based on descending age cohorts.

Those 45 and over eligible to register to book a vaccination appointment

In the past week the province has opened registration for vaccinations to younger people, though registering doesn’t necessarily mean getting an appointment right away. After one registers, they are later contacted to book an appointment. 

In VCH: 

  • If you're born in 1971 or earlier (age 50+) - Register now
  • If you're born in 1976 or earlier (age 45+) - Registration opens at 12 p.m. on Friday, April 16
  • If you're born in 1981 or earlier (age 40+) - Registration opens at 12 p.m. on Monday, April 19

One can register for a vaccination appointment online or by calling 1-833-838-2323 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.