Hundreds of people lined up outside Vancouver clinics yesterday for the first wave of H1N1 vaccinations, with the demand so high at the Arbutus Mall clinic that it ran out of vaccinations.
One clinic had a line so long it streamed well down the block.
Anna-Marie D’Angelo, a spokesperson for Vancouver Coastal Health, said patients deemed to be at highest risk were supposed to be inoculated first.
“The Arbutus Mall and Downtown Eastside clinics were (especially) busy,” she said.
People in the DTES are considered high risk because many have underlying health issues.
D’Angelo said some healthy British Columbians showed up to be vaccinated, but most were turned away.
Pregnant women past their 20th week, adults with chronic medical conditions, aboriginals and people living in remote areas were given priority.
Susan Stephenson, 33, who is nearly nine months pregnant, was at the Three Bridges Community Health Centre on Hornby Street to get the vaccine.
“It’s just a precaution,” she said.
Susan Hogan, who lives on Bowen Island, decided to get inoculated against the seasonal flu at the same clinic, and said she’ll come back in two weeks to get the H1N1 vaccine.
“Why look a gift horse in the mouth?” she asked. “It seems (crazy) not to (get inoculated) when it’s being provided. And I don’t want to pass it on to other people.”
Starting next week, eligibility will be expanded to include children between six months and five, health-care workers and certain care providers.
By mid-November, everyone else can receive it.
“There will be enough vaccinations for everyone in the province who wants or needs (the shot),” said Ritinder Harry, a spokesperson for the B.C. Centre For Disease Control.
She said around 230,000 doses were sent to B.C. for the first wave of inoculations, and another 230,000 are on their way for the second wave next week.
With files from The Canadian Press
City clinics offering H1N1 vaccines
• Arbutus Mall. 4255 Arbutus Street.
• Marpole Family Place. 1305 West 70th Avenue.
• Evergreen Community Health Centre. 3425 Crowley Drive.
• South Community Health Centre. 6405 Knight Street.
• Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House. 2131 Renfrew Street.
• Kitsilano Community Centre. 2960 Larch Street.
• North Community Health Office. 200-1651 Commercial Drive.
• Renfrew Community Centre. 2929 East 22nd Avenue.
• Three Bridges Community Health Centre. 1292 Hornby Street.
• Pacific Spirit CHC. 2110 West 43rd Avenue.
For hours of operation or more information visit health.gov.bc.ca/flu.