For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied

Island woman on fence books vaccine due to brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

It wasn’t as easy as she hoped to sign up for a COVID vaccine, but one Comox Valley woman is now in the queue for her shot.

For Leela Harrop, getting the vaccine at all wasn’t even a sure thing, but a recent death in her family prompted her to register. She admits to having serious reservations about the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been linked to rare instances of blood clots, but when her brother, Raju Tiwari, died in India of COVID earlier this month, that was enough for her to sign up.

“That pushed me right over the edge,” she said.

RELATED STORY: PHAC receives first report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

She registered online at the government site, but when she got her message that she could book an appointment, she had issues being able to sign up for the Comox Valley. Living in Comox and working in Courtenay, she tried entering both communities but had no luck when she tried to click on a date. She even tried Campbell River but got the same message.

“It said this service is not available in your area,” she said.

She tried again the next day, April 14, and was able to pick a location but got nothing in terms of dates.

“I am computer literate, I use computers, so it wasn’t that I was messing up on the page,” she said. “There was just something weird.”

She posted to a local COVID Facebook page about her experience. A few others responded that they had had similar problems. Others mentioned it was easier calling in to set up the appointment than trying to do so online.

Harrop opted for the phone and was able to line up a date for her vaccine in early May.

“It was actually really easy to make an appointment,” she said.

The experience of her brother’s death on Sunday, April 11, was the decisive factor for vaccination. He had just turned 51 and had been in good health when he started experiencing symptoms, including a high fever and breathing difficulty.

“He was totally fine a couple days before,” she said. “It was devastating because he was healthy and alive.”

He had difficulty though finding a hospital that would take him in with his symptoms.

“They were driving around from hospital to hospital, and no hospital wanted to take him,” she said.

When he was finally admitted, he had to be put on a ventilator but succumbed to the virus after his oxygen levels dropped and he had a heart attack. Shortly after, Harrop decided to register. She also has a friend who is 35 and got COVID a year ago and is still unable to go back to work because of subsequent health issues.

“You just don’t know,” she said.

For vaccine information

The Record checked with Island Health to find out about any problems with registering for the vaccine. A spokesperson said the health authority is not aware of anyone reporting major issues with booking for a vaccine but recommends anyone having problems with the online system to call the provincial support number at 1-833-838-2323. The process is also outlined on the website at https://bit.ly/32zNka1

Island Health confirms either the Moderna or Pfizer two-dose vaccine is being given out at public clinics. There is also more information on the provincial health website about the vaccine program as well as updates on issues such as the AstraZeneca vaccine. This can be found at https://bit.ly/3uXmftn

As another option, the BC Pharmacy Association has information on the pharmacy-based distribution program. Michael Mui, communications specialist for the association, said at present there is no information yet on which pharmacies will be selected in the Comox Valley. As of April 16, the closest one is in Parksville. The criteria for selection include priority communities identified by regional health authorities as well as pharmacies that can handle larger quantities of vaccines and have sufficient infrastructure in place to mobilize vaccine distribution, such as staffing and physical layout.

The association’s website notes the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine is available at some pharmacies. As of April 13, the province lowered the age limit for it from 65 to anyone born in 1966 or earlier.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirusvaccines

Just Posted

Carey Newman resigned from the Greater Victoria School District’s Indigenous Ad Hoc Committee May 13, citing ‘a pattern of systemic racism.’ (Black Press Media file photo)
‘Pattern of systemic racism’: SD61 Indigenous committee member resigns, calls for change

More than 350 people had added their names in support by midday Friday

The Greater Victoria School District continues to face backlash over its wording and approach to Indigenous learners in its 2021-2022 budget talks. (Black Press Media file photo)
School district’s approach to Indigenous learners leaves Victoria teachers ‘disgusted’

Backlash grows over ‘pattern of colonial thinking permeating the leadership’

Commonwealth Place recreation centre was shut down before 8 a.m. on Friday following a power outage. (Saanich Parks, Recreation and Community Services/Twitter)
Saanich Commonwealth Place closed due to power outage, outdoor classes still running

Indoor classes, programs at pool and weight room halted

Royal Bay Secondary School students paint the crosswalk in front of their school in support of LGBTQ and marginalized members of the community (Royal Bay Secondary School photo)
Senior student leaves mark at Royal Bay Secondary School for LGBTQ+ students

Crosswalk at Colwood school painted in support of marginalized community members

An elderly man having a medical emergency in Mount Douglas Park on May 13 was rescued by firefighters and paramedics with the help of ATVs. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Rescue team uses ATVs to get man in medical distress out of Saanich park and to hospital

Cedarhill Road closed as firefighters, paramedics rescue man in Mount Douglas Park

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 11

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Superintendent Aaron Paradis, community services officer with the Surrey RCMP, during a media availability about a recent drug bust in Port Coquitlam. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Police seize 13 million ‘potentially fatal doses’ of pure fentanyl at B.C. drug lab

The evidence was seized at large, illicit drug manufacturing site in Port Coquitlam

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth debates the province’s latest measure to control crime, March 10, 2021. The legislation allows police to impound vehicles used to transport weapons and further restricts sale of vehicle and body armour. (B.C. legislature video)
B.C. seeking ways to ‘name and shame’ gangsters, minister says

Mike Farnworth appeals to family members to talk to police

Most Read