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

Email letters to the editor to editor@northislandgazette.com and we will publish online and in print.
LETTER: Port McNeill councillor responds to May 12 North Island Rising column

‘council raised residential taxes for no reason and I stand by that statement’

The seasonal Search and Rescue program will run between May to September. ( File photo/Canadian Coast Guard)
Coast Guard Inshore Rescue Program starting up next week

Teams have protocols in place to ensure COVID-19 safety

Shearwater is located in the Great Bear Rainforest on the West Coast of B.C. (Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association photo)
Heiltsuk Nation buys historic Shearwater Resort and Marina

Chief Marilyn Slett said Heiltsuk Nation has always valued its relationship with the company

B.C. Centre for Disease Control data showing new cases by local health area for the week of May 2-8. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island COVID-19 local case counts the lowest they’ve been all year

On some areas of Island, more than 60 per cent of adults have received a vaccine dose

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Island’s daily COVID-19 case count drops below 10 for just the second time in 2021

Province reports 8 new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island Wednesday

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
MISSING: Salt Spring RCMP find woman’s car, still seek Island resident

Sinikka Gay Elliott is 5’3” with a slim build and dark brown short hair

A Saanich man received almost 10 years in Supreme Court in Courtenay for a shooting incident from 2018. Record file photo
Shooting incident on Island nets almost 10-year sentence

Saanich man was arrested without incident north of Courtenay in 2018

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

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

Most Read