When Leila Cross, 14, showed up for her first anti-COVID-19 shot on Saturday there was no doubt in her mind why she was there.
She decided to be vaccinated because “it would be best to keep myself and others safe.”
Leila, who is concerned about the possibility of catching the Delta variant, went to the drop-in vaccination clinic at the Victoria Conference Centre with her mother, Chantal Reid, who is already double vaccinated.
Walk-ins came in quietly and regularly, but not in big numbers. Months ago, the early eagerness for vaccinations resulted in lineups running along Douglas Street.
Several minutes could pass on Saturday between people showing up their first or second shots. Those arriving included parents with young children.
Another mother and daughter arrived — with mum coming for her second shot and her daughter, who is 11 but in her 12th year, was pleased to say she was getting her first.
One young man heading in for a second shot said he comes into contact with many people in his job and does not want to catch COVID.
Meanwhile, sounds could be heard from an anti-vaccination protest in front of the B.C. legislature on the sidewalk at Belleville Street.
Speakers with a megaphone and others with signs expressed their anti-vaccination stance.
About 100 people turned out. One sign said, “Fear the vaccine not the virus” while another said “No new normal. Victorians against COVID tyranny.”
One speaker said, “We stand here for the protection of all your rights.” Another said he was “pro-science, pro-child, pro-family.”
Maria and Karl Steklin went to the conference centre for their second shot after receiving a Moderna vaccine the first time.
The retired couple had a number of reasons for coming in, including their desire “to think about other people, not just us.”
They are also hoping to travel at some point and know proof of vaccinations will be required.
Maria Steklin wondered if Saturday’s shot might affect her health in six months to a year.
The numbers of people seeking vaccinations increased after the province announced new rules.
As of Sept. 13, people will to have show that they have had one vaccination to enter places such as restaurants, nightclubs, sporting arenas and theatres. On Oct. 24, people will need to show proof of two shots.
It was the new rules that prompted Jim McGrath to go to the conference centre for his first shot. “I’m not happy at all having to get it. Personally, I think it is a big brother thing.”
Without the shot, McGrath said, he would be “cut off from everything,” and listed stores, malls, casinos, theatres and more.
The province has said people not fully vaccinated accounted for 82 per cent of COVID-19 infections and close to 86 per cent of hospitalizations between Aug. 12 and 25.
Nearly 76 per cent of eligible B.C. residents who are ages 12 and older are fully vaccinated with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Almost 84 per cent have had at least one shot.
> Vaccination information online: gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated
> To register for vaccination or to make an appointment: gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated or 1-833-838-2323
> For clinic locations in Island Health, go to covid19.islandclinics.ca