A senior citizen receives a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic in a hockey arena in Montreal, on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. More than half of the residents of First Nations communities in British Columbia have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, but most Indigenous people who live outside of these areas are still waiting. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

A senior citizen receives a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic in a hockey arena in Montreal, on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. More than half of the residents of First Nations communities in British Columbia have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, but most Indigenous people who live outside of these areas are still waiting. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Claxton: Governments, do not mess up our vaccinations

We’re almost out of this, you better not fail now

Dear governments of Canada and British Columbia,

Do not screw this up.

This could have been the mantra for the entire last year, the whole lost year from January of 2020, when rumblings about this new virus spreading in China first sprang up.

Don’t screw up the lockdowns, don’t screw up the financial relief, don’t screw up when acquiring masks, or ordering untested vaccines, or re-opening schools, or during the second lockdowns. Don’t screw up, and let more of our loved ones get sick and risk death.

Most of those still apply, plus we’re looking askance at everyone who protests wearing a mask, hosts a trivia night, goes to an illegal club. (Don’t screw up enforcement, either!)

RELATED: COVID vaccine rollout set to shift into high gear with major surge in expected deliveries

RELATED: Fewer COVID-19 cases in people 80 and up, Tam says as vaccine programs expand

But all of those came with vast unknowns. We didn’t know early on how effective masks would be. We didn’t know how lethal the virus was. Every action came with a bit of leeway – we really are were in this together, and the thing we were in was a perpetual state of confusion.

But now we’re in the home stretch. Everyone knows what needs to happen now. Vaccines into arms, that’s it, as fast and efficiently as possible.

So I repeat – leaders, do not screw this up.

I am worried, you see, that you will manage to trip over your shoelaces while rounding third.

Our first indication of this was when it turned out that Telus had been assigned the job of taking reservations for the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

Who could have predicted that this was a bad idea? Only anyone in the province who has ever had to phone Telus about anything.

Four of the five health authorities didn’t have any way to sign up online. Phones were jammed, of course, as everyone calling in for themselves, their dad, their mom, their grandparent, called back over and over and over again.

Again – entirely predictable. We’ve seen this happen in other provinces and countries.

Perhaps, as we enter the most vital, and hopefully final, phase of the pandemic, the government should road-test its ideas. Go and find the nearest three people wandering by on the street outside. Explain the next phase. If they give you a funny look or start laughing, reconsider the plan.

A couple of tips:

1) If your call centre has a few people who are just sort of sitting around and whose phones aren’t ringing off the hook constantly, that is a good sign! That is how many people you need – more than enough!

2) Same thing at vaccination sites – do the math, figure out how many nurses/pharmacists/dentists you need to give shots if everything goes as planned. Then hire five or six more, because it won’t.

3) Trust us. Stop making everything a big secret until it’s “unveiled.” We’re stressed out enough, and frankly, we might have some good feedback so you can fix things in advance. Slow reveals and spoiler warnings are for Marvel movies, not mass inoculation plans.

So to conclude: you are not allowed to screw this up. Got it?

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.


Have a story tip? Email: matthew.claxton@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

ColumnCoronavirusLangleyOpinion

Just Posted

Imogene Lim, a Vancouver Island University anthropology professor, has received a Province of B.C. Medal of Good Citizenship. (Black Press file)
VIU anthropology professor receives B.C. Good Citizenship medal

Imogene Lim’s work includes advocacy for establishing Chinese heritage sites

Saanich Fire Department on the scene after a car crashed into the Walmart in Uptown. (Photo courtesy Dan Wood)
PHOTOS: Saanich firefighters free trapped workers at Uptown Walmart

Incident reported as explosion after driver rammed through wall

The inside of the Campbell River Community Centre gymnasium has been marked off in order to facilitate the public flowing through the clinic as they receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell river Mirror
Leftover vaccines go into arms, not down the drain: Island Health

Immunization plan comes with built-in options for any unused vaccines at the end of the day

Rape culture puts the onus on survivors rather than perpetrators.	(THE CANADIAN PRESS file photo/Darren Calabrese)
Explainer: What is rape culture and what does it look like on Vancouver Island?

A rise in online sexual assault allegations prompts conversation

John Ambrose Seward, 33, is described as Indigenous and five-foot-eight with short black hair and brown eyes. (Police handout)
John Ambrose Seward, 33, is described as Indigenous and five-foot-eight with short black hair and brown eyes. (Police handout)
High-risk sex offender banned from central Island, living in Vancouver: police

John Ambrose Seward, 33, has been released from prison under a number of conditions

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s help in identifying the man suspected of being involved in a stabbing. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP trying to identify stabbing suspect who wielded rusty knife

Stabbing followed argument between two men at Port Place Shopping Centre April 1

Saanich police are investigating after a small dog was mauled and their was owner bitten in Mount Douglas Park by a large, off-leash dog April 6. (Photo via the Saanich Police Department)
UPDATED: Pup put down after being mauled by large, off-leash dog in Saanich park

Owner turned themself in after incident at Mount Doug Park

Don Bonner, RDN board director, left, Tyler Brown, RDN board chairperson, and Sean De Pol, RDN director of water and wastewater services, at a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre April 6. (Shawn Wagar photo)
Nanaimo’s $82-million pollution control centre upgrade now complete

Wastewater treatment enhanced at RDN’s Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre

The CRD is working on a solid waste management plan to reduce the amount of material sent to Hartland Landfill. (Black Press Media file photo)
No time to waste: Greater Victoria closes in on plan for garbage

CRD board to consider final draft solid waste management plan in May

Ryan Rasmussen goes on a training run on Quadra Island. Photo supplied.
Quadra Island man to run 160 km to raise funds for alternative cancer care

‘I feel like I need to be in pain to raise the money… I can’t do something that’s easy’ — Ryan Rasmussen

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Most Read