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Staff COVID cases cancel vaccine appointments at Kensington Shoppers

The Kensington Shoppers Drug Mart had to cancel its COVID booster clinic after a "small number" of staff contracted the virus.

By Dustin Godfrey | January 12, 2022 |5:03 am

The Kensington Shoppers Drug Mart cancelled booster shots on Tuesday after a “small number” of employees tested positive for COVID.

Staff at the store itself declined to comment after Burnaby Beacon received a tip that the location had cancelled booster shots due to up to six COVID cases at the site.

But in an emailed statement, Loblaw, the corporation that owns Shoppers, confirmed that “a small number of team members … have recently tested positive for COVID-19,” though the company did not provide specifics.

“Out of an abundance of caution, any colleagues who may have been directly exposed were asked to go home and test, and all produced a negative result. Due to the temporary decrease in staff, the team had to postpone the booster shot clinic,” the company said.

“Our focus remains on safely vaccinating as many people as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

Loblaw did not say how many appointments had been cancelled, nor did the company say how long the clinic would be closed for.

Fraser Health spokesperson Dixon Tam said he could not find any indication that an outbreak had been declared at the location.

In the weekly provincial update, Health Minister Adrian Dix said everyone with six months passed since their second dose has now been contacted to schedule their booster shot.

The booster program has had somewhat of a shaky run, with some reports of long lines and shifting policies around timelines for the boosters.

While other provinces have reduced their booster wait time to as little as three months, BC has been reluctant to reduce the wait from the current six-month marker.

Last fall, however, public health officials in this province indicated the wait could be up to eight months.

Since then, after significant backlash, the BC government has pushed to keep the wait to six months.

Speaking Tuesday, provincial health officer Dr Bonnie Henry said there is increasing data that two doses of the vaccine reduce the risk of transmission. And that’s true even in households, where controlling transmission can be most difficult.

“And if you have that booster dose, that [transmissibility] goes down even further,” she said.

“The sum of it really is: if you’re vaccinated, you have less risk of infection, particularly after your booster; you are much more likely to have mild illness, to not need hospital care, to not need ICU care, and to not die from this virus; and the risk that you’re going to pass it onto others is dramatically reduced.”

Yesterday, BC announced it had issued over 1.2 million booster vaccine doses, accounting for 26.8% of the population 12 and older.

As for first and second doses, which are open to those aged five and older, BC has issued 4.4 million (88.8% of the eligible population) and 4.1 million (83.2%) shots.

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Dustin Godfrey

Reporter at Burnaby Beacon

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