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New West church doing its part to fill in vaccination gaps

Priority given to folks getting first shots
St Barnabas snipped
Patti Powell gets her vaccination at one of the clinics at St. Barnabas Anglican Church.

It’s not every day you can get your COVID-19 vaccination in a church, but that’s what you’ll be able to do at this weekend’s clinic at St. Barnabas Anglican Church.

The New West church has partnered with Fraser Health to hold a series of vacation clinics, said the Reverend Emilie Smith.

“We are having community clinics to try and catch all the folks who, for whatever reason, haven’t be been able to get down and get it at the regular vaccination sites,” Smith said. “We are really reaching out to catch those folks. So far we have actually vaccinated over 200 people. This is our way of trying to get out into our community.”

The next drop-in clinic at St. Barnabas Church is on Saturday, July 24 from 3 to 5 p.m. The church is at 1010 Fifth Ave. in the Brow of the Hill.

“This weekend’s clinic will be the fourth one at St. Barnabas Church,” Smith noted. “We want everybody, especially the most vulnerable, who for whatever reason have not been able to, to get it, That’s what it is all about. We will take anybody within the time limit. The nurses here are fabulous. They know their stuff. It’s a well-oiled machine.”

Smith said 39 people were vaccinated at the first clinic at the St. Barnabas, with 80 attending the second clinic and 139 getting jabbed at the third clinic. The clinics are held in the church, not the hall.

 “We did take over the sanctuary,” she said. “We push the altar aside and set up the clinic. We’d like no barriers; everybody can come.”

St. Barnabas wants to fill gaps and help provide vaccinations for people who can’t get to Anvil Centre or may not know about those clinics, Smith said.

“We are really trying to make it low barrier and really easy for folks to get over here and get their shots,” Smith said. “It’s been wonderful.”

At past clinics, people who didn’t have B.C. Care Cards were set up with temporary cards so they could get vaccinated.

“We really just can’t say enough how grateful we are to the scientists and so on who made it amazingly possible for us to have this way through the pandemic,” Smith said. “We believe in science and we believe in the vaccine.”

Anyone aged 12 and up is invited to drop by this weekend’s vaccination clinic. Priority will be given to people getting their first shots, and anyone wanting to get their second shot will have had to have had their first shot at least seven weeks prior.

“We are really, really trying to get those first timers, but we want to use up everything they have got,” Smith said.

In addition to vaccination clinics, church services have been allowed to resume in the sanctuary –  although it’s not quite business as usual just yet because of the pandemic.

“Everybody can come to church but we still not singing yet,” Smith said. “That is the last straw we are waiting to have.”