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Opinion: 'Good riddance' to Burnaby COVID-19 vaccination site and its traffic woes

New COVID-19 vaccination site starts up at BCIT on Sunday
Testing Site Traffic central park
Cars enter the Burnaby Covid-19 vaccination site on Boundary road.

The COVID-19 Testing and Assessment Centre at Central Park in Burnaby hit a milestone just as it’s getting ready to shut down.

The site, run by the Burnaby Division of Family Practice - with support from the City of Burnaby and Fraser Health - hit a huge milestone in mid-March when it administered its 100,000th test. It’s being shut down on April 18, with a new site set up in a parking lot at BCIT. Another site has been set up at the Fortius centre on Kensington Avenue.

The Central Park site is being shut down partially due to issues involving its capacity and how long it was taking people to get through during busy times.

"Good riddance," wrote Fred C. "My trip through there took forever and was very confusing. At my age, it took a toll. They need to fix this."

Chris A also wrote in with his experience.

“I certainly don’t want to beat up on the CoVid-19 vaccination efforts of all involved, but I’d like to share my experience yesterday in getting my shot,” he wrote. “I got in the traffic line-up on Boundary Road for the Burnaby Central Park drive-thru vaccination centre about 5 minutes before my appointment time. It was about an hour and a quarter before I was able to leave the site vaccinated. The intervening time comprised creeping along, streamed into two lines, then three lines, and finally into two lines again. This I can assume is their doing the best they can, maximizing the use of a less than optimal physical site. The traffic management people were great; they pointed and gesticulated where we were supposed to go in the labyrinth. When I finally came around the final corner [literally], I could see I was three cars back from the actual vaccination station. From that vantage point I could see both my line and the other line.
“In my line, there was one clinician doing both the paperwork and the actual vaccine injection. It took about 5 minutes to process each car with one person receiving the vaccine. Would it have been faster to team up the process with one clinician prepping and the other injecting? I don’t know. There appeared to be other in-line stations but they were unstaffed. In the other line, there was no one there for at least the first ten minutes that I witnessed.
“So, for a time, while there may have been 50 [my wild guess] people waiting in line, there was just one clinician actually doing what needed to be done. So, I’m left wondering: was it a shift change; group lunch break; qualified-staffing shortage? Yes, I’m sure we’re all doing our best, but I’m just citing my one experience. I hope the new drive-thru facility at BCIT will prove to be more efficient.”

Fraser Health says the new site will have more lanes to accommodate people and should speed things up.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.