North Van MLA rolling up sleeves to join COVID vaccination squad

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North Vancouver-Seymour MLA Susie Chant, a registered nurse, will travel around the North Shore to administer vaccines to residents unable to get to clinics later this month as the vaccine program ramps up in B.C.

While many politicians have claimed to be rolling up their sleeves to help with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, not many have been literally rolling up other people’s sleeves to fight COVID-19.

In North Vancouver, however, that will soon change, as North Vancouver-Seymour MLA Susie Chant takes on an additional role as a community vaccinator at the end of March.

Chant, a registered nurse, worked as a team leader in home and community care prior to being elected in October. She’s since retired from that full-time work, but does lend her nursing skills to projects when needed on a casual basis.

The plan to ramp up vaccinations in the next several months is one of those opportunities.

Nurses, paramedics, pharmacy techs and other health staff who don’t usually do vaccinations have been called up by a special provincial health order to help get shots into arms as quickly as possible. “We’re all hands on deck,” said Chant.

Training has included four hours online on topics like the differences between the vaccines, how they work and how to properly administer them. It also included two more hours of classroom time, followed by some in-person practice with health-care staff.

So far, Chant says she’s vaccinated six people.

She expects her real work as a vaccinator to start at the end of this month, where she anticipates being among those who deliver vaccines at the homes of those who can’t easily make it to a clinic, as B.C. begins its vaccination of those age 80 and older in the community.

Due to the time pressures of her regular job, Chant says she’s been careful not to promise too much time as a vaccinator. But being part of the historic effort is something she feels good about.

“I’m one of those people that likes to do things,” she said. “And so to have this rolling out and not be doing part of it would be crazy-making for me. This is great, because it allows me to go ‘Yep, I’m doing my part.’”