It’s the ultimate truck stop amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fraser Health Authority and the B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA) have teamed up with the City of Delta and Ministry of Transportation to offer a two-day drop-in vaccination clinic at the truck pull off on Highway 91. Any commercial drivers with a class 1, 2 or 3 license are eligible with the two-day clinic wrapping on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
It’s the first of its kind in the province and is greatly appreciated by an industry that has worked at full speed and around the clock throughout the pandemic.
“We have been talking to the provincial health authority about trying to find a way to do dedicated clinics for the past couple of months. It’s a really, really tough nut to crack. The reason for that is the nature of the industry is incredibly de-centralized. We don’t have a place where everybody shows up in the morning, stand in line, get a job and off you go,” explained BCTA president/CEO Dave Earle.
“We have been working with everybody from border officials to Ministry of Transportation to public health trying to find an opportunity and a way. It was in the last week that we really landed on this and said let’s try this. We are just so pleased Fraser Health was so pro-active in doing this. They have just been excellent to work with through this entire pandemic and we are so happy to see this happening.”
The City of Delta provided the necessary infrastructure to make the clinic a reality, including a modular trailer where drivers go inside to be inoculated. The clinic can immunize up to 300 per day and there is enough space to accommodate 36 trucks at once with Ministry of Transportation looking after traffic safety.
“We really appreciate the partnership with the (BCTA) and how the City of Delta has really come onboard and partnered with us too,” said Sarah Siebert, a director with Fraser Health who was on site Wednesday. “We heard (BCTA) wanted to be provided an easy access clinic. They wanted to make sure that their drivers that haven’t been vaccinated had the opportunity to be vaccinated.
“That really is the focus now of our vaccine campaign…to go where people are to make it as easy as ever to get their vaccines. Our large sites are great, we can get a lot of people in, but for that group of the population that just hasn’t been able to do it we really appreciate this opportunity to offer this clinic.”
The Highway 91 northbound location, between Highway 10 and the 64th Avenue exit, made the most sense after considering several other Metro Vancouver locations.“We needed a location where trucks can move in and out (back onto a highway) safely and our infrastructure in B.C. just doesn’t lend itself to that. It’s a very very, short list of where we could do this,” added Earle. “We just really want to acknowledge and applaud Fraser Health for trying and recognizing the uniqueness of our industry.”