College’s once bustling cafeterias are being used as vaccination sites
By Craig Allan, Business Manager
“[The vaccination sites] are easily accessible without individuals needing to traverse much of the campus and have the space necessary to accommodate the clinic while allowing for all necessary physical distancing measures to ensure compliance with the College’s COVID-19 Safety Plan.”– Nancy Constable
When going to either of the Douglas College campuses right now, one may notice a slight uptick in the amount of activity going on around—specifically with a larger amount of older people being seen around the campus. That is because the Douglas College cafeteria is being used as one of the vaccination sites for eligible citizens to get their COVID-19 vaccination shot. To discuss this, I spoke with Nancy Constable—a college liaison with Fraser Health who is the director of the vaccination clinics at both campuses—to discuss what is going on at these campuses, why Douglas College was chosen, and who is expected to get the shot.
Fraser Health had reached out to Douglas as the beginning of phase two neared to ask if the college would be willing to offer its campuses to aid in the vaccination efforts. “We were honoured to be asked, and quickly struck a college logistics team to meet with the Fraser Health logistics team.”
Both campuses are being used for this effort; the cafeteria at New West, the student-only seating area in Coquitlam between the Tim Hortons, and the cafeteria. Construction at both campuses was done to ensure that proper social distancing and safety protocols are met at both locations. “They are easily accessible without individuals needing to traverse much of the campus and have the space necessary to accommodate the clinic while allowing for all necessary physical distancing measures to ensure compliance with the college’s COVID-19 Safety Plan.”
The vaccinations will also be available for qualifying Indigenous people. Douglas has also made arrangements to make sure that all Indigenous people feel welcome and safe to get the vaccine at either campus. “The Indigenous clinics may have Indigenous healers present, and elders are opening the Indigenous clinics with a prayer on day one at each campus.”
While many students may be hoping to get their vaccine sooner rather than later, these vaccination sites are not available to Douglas College students unless they qualify for a vaccination. “The clinics currently hosted on our campuses by Fraser Health are for specific recipients as identified in the provincial government’s phase two vaccination roll-out plan, which does not include the general student population,” said Constable.
These setups are not permanent as the college will only be used as vaccination clinics up until April 3. In terms of the second dose, anyone who received their first dose here will get their second dose at a later date in a different location. “We will provide space for these same recipients to receive a second dose, however those dates are TBA.”
In terms of what doses are available at the college, that information is not known to Constable or anyone associated with Douglas College. “The college does not have that information; it is the purview of Fraser Health.”
It has been a rough year for Douglas. With COVID putting a damper on the college’s 50th anniversary celebrations, there has not been much to celebrate. Now that Douglas is offering its campuses to help end COVID, they are using its resources and space in the community to help vaccinate people and bring Canada one step closer to the end of this pandemic.