Surrey RCMP Sgt. Elenore Sturko receives her COVID-19 vaccination. (Contributed photo)

Surrey RCMP Sgt. Elenore Sturko receives her COVID-19 vaccination. (Contributed photo)

COVID-19 vaccination gives ‘peace of mind’ to Surrey, White Rock first responders

Immunization clinics underway for emergency personnel

There was a sense of “jubilation” in the Surrey RCMP ranks Saturday evening after officers learned they can now receive COVID-19 immunization.

“People felt a big boost to the morale,” said Surrey RCMP Sgt. Elenore Sturko, who received her first shot Monday morning. “It means a lot to us, we are grateful.”

Last month, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the high number of COVID-19 cases in Surrey prompted health officials to consider giving vaccine priority to Surrey educators and first responders.

RCMP and fire services in both Surrey and White Rock learned over the weekend that first responders would now be eligible to receive a vaccine. Fraser Health started the immunization program Monday morning.

While Surrey RCMP had a contingency plan in place in the instance of increasing COVID-19 cases, Sturko said the news helped alleviate a sense of anxiety that was present among officers.

“We, of course, have (personal protective equipment) and all of our other safety precautions and measures in place. But still, there is a level of concern,” Sturko said. “But now having this extra layer of protection for not only our officers and employees, but for the community, gives us some peace of mind.”

Sturko said it’s not lost on officers that requesting vaccine priority was a “big ask.”

“We are extremely grateful and we will continue to serve the community and we appreciate that these have been made available to our members.”

RELATED: ‘Perfect storm’ of variants, increasing COVID cases are concerning for Surrey fire chief

Surrey Fire Chief Larry Thomas echoed Sturko in that staff are “very grateful” for the opportunity to receive vaccine.

“The work they do, the public safety services they provide, can only be delivered through a limited number of workers. So this does provide some relief,” Thomas said. “Once their immunities are built up, we will not be having staffing challenges as we go forward. So that’s a real positive perspective.”

Last week, Thomas said between Surrey RCMP and Surrey Fire Service, there were 18 confirmed cases that resulted in an additional 18 people being required to isolate for two weeks.

“That has continued,” Thomas said. “Even this morning we know of another confirmed case that’s requiring a crew to be isolated.”

Thomas said he wanted to acknowledge the provincial health officer, minister of health, the BC Government and “especially the wonderful immunization team at Fraser Health.”

White Rock Fire Department Chief Ed Wolfe said the immunization effort addresses one of the key concerns he has at the helm of the department.

“My number one concern with running an essential service is maintaining the operational capacity,” Wolfe said.

While Wolfe did not provide specifics on how many confirmed cases of COVID-19 the department has had, he said between White Rock RCMP and the fire department, there have been a number of cases.

He anticipates all members of his crew will be given an opportunity to receive their first shot of vaccine this week.

“It eliminates a little bit of risk as far as being able to maintain our current level of service. My big concern is what happens if COVID really took a hard hit on our department. We would be very limited coming from a small department.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

firefightersRCMPSurreyWhite Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bryn Sandhu signs her scholarship papers after agreeing to a full-ride scholarship at Northern Michigan University. (Contributed photo)
Earl Marriott Secondary wrestler set to grapple with NCAA competition

Bryn Sandhu will wrestle and study this fall at Northern Michigan University

The Surrey Board of Trade is calling on the provincial government to implement a temporary paid sick-leave program. ( photo by Kelly Sikkema)
Surrey Board of Trade calls for temporary paid sick-leave program

Reccomendations sent to provincial labour minister, news release notes

North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex. (Photo:
North Surrey rink, Newton playground earn B.C. excellence awards

Awards presented by BC Recreation and Parks Association

Surrey Memorial Hospital emergency department entrance. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Youth counselling services expand to Surrey Memorial and other hospitals with $1.35M grant

Dan’s Legacy Foundation to provide free mental health, substance-use outreach

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

A black bear made a visit to downtown Vancouver Tuesday, May 4. The animal was spotted on train tracks in Gastown shortly after at 2:30 p.m. (Twitter/Craig Minielly)
VIDEO: Black bear spotted meandering around downtown Vancouver

The bear was reportedly tranquilized by conservation officers Tuesday afternoon

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Interior Health locks out Kelowna martial arts gym following COVID violations

Actions were taken after all other steps to gain compliance were exhausted, says health authority

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – A plexiglass barrier is pictured creating a barrier to protect a cashier at a grocery store in North Vancouver, B.C. Sunday, March 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Grocery store workers now eligible for COVID vaccines in Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal

Workers will be fast-tracked through the system, which is otherwise booking for people in their 50s

A man who allegedly spat at and yelled racial slurs at an Asian family was arrested for hate-motivated assault Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Arrest made after man spits, yells anti-Asian racial slurs at Victoria mom and kids

The man was arrested for hate-motivated assault near Quadra Elementary School Tuesday

A lady wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada may find it challenging to reach herd immunity from COVID-19, experts say

Level of immunity among the population changes with the variants, especially the more transmissible strains

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Ripy Jubbal of Abbotsford has received a 30-month jail sentence for the fraudulent use of credit cards and credit card data. (Facebook photo)
Abbotsford woman sentenced for $80K in fraudulent credit card purchases

Ripy Jubbal and spouse used identities of 19 different victims, court hears

Most Read