CALGARY — Approximately 200 furloughed WestJetters are being called back to work to assist at mass vaccination clinics in Greater Vancouver.
As part of WestJet’s new partnership with the Government of British Columbia, the first confirmed clinic will open on March 29 at the University of British Columbia with Vancouver Coastal Health. Plans for additional clinics are underway in the coming weeks, including on at the Guildford Recreation centre in Surrey with Fraser Health.
Mark Porter, WestJet Executive Vice-President People and Culture, said: “The caring experience that our people provide is not exclusive to travel – it’s a mindset that all WestJetters embody. With our operational experience in moving people through airports, WestJetters will help put people at ease and aid in ensuring clinics run smoothly.”
Baljinder Sandhu, a WestJet Customer Service Agent in Vancouver who had his hours reduced as a result of the pandemic, is eager to assist in the rollout of Canada’s vaccination efforts as part of the WestJet Care Team.
“Getting the opportunity to work at the clinic alongside many of my colleagues who were furloughed, while seeing this life-changing vaccine being administered is a really special opportunity,” he said.
While the Care Team will not be involved in the medical side of the operation, it will be conducting arrivals greeting, check in, data entry and patient observation after receiving the shot. Clinics will run approximately 12 hours per day through Oct. 31, 2021 and are expected to vaccinate more than 200,000 eligible residents. Details on vaccine eligibility and location can be found at Gov.bc.ca/COVID.
“WestJet has been serving Vancouver for 25 years and assisting in getting the community vaccinated as quickly as possible aligns with our commitment to safety for our guests, our employees and the communities we serve,” added Porter.
The immunization program in British Columbia is the largest and most complex in its history, with multiple sectors, industries and professions working collaboratively to vaccinate people as quickly as possible. Dr. Penny Ballem, executive lead of B.C. immunization plan rollout, says “it takes a whole village” to implement the plan, and that the province is “proud to be working with business and industry leaders and community organization in every sector, along with municipalities to get vaccines to people in B.C. quickly and efficiently.”