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Delays in updating immunization records leave B.C. woman with incorrect vaccine card

Alyssa Tubb has been trying to update her immunization record since August but has gotten nowhere
B.C. vaccine card on a smartphone, green indicates two doses. (Black Press Media)

Alyssa Tubb has been fully vaccinated since June 12, when she received her second dose in St. Louis, Missouri. She said she was happy to get the vaccine as soon as possible so she, her family and her newborn baby would be protected from COVID-19.

But Tubb now faces an unexpected problem: her B.C. vaccine card still says she’s only partially vaccinated, barring her from participating in a number of social and recreational events like taking her baby to yoga and music classes designed for newborns and their parents, going for date nights with her husband, or going to activities in her community.

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Tubb is a U.S. citizen and has permanent residency in Canada. She lives in Coquitlam with her husband and child, both of whom are Canadian. Tubb received her first dose of Pfizer in B.C. on May 19. In June, she travelled home to Missouri for a family funeral and got vaccinated during her visit since it was easier to get access to vaccines in the U.S. at the time.

When she returned to Coquitlam in August, Tubb submitted an update for her immunization record through Health Gateway. Health Gateway’s website says that international vaccination information should take 10-14 days to be updated, but Tubb has been waiting nearly three months.

In an email to her MLA, Finn Donnelly, Tubb said her vaccine card was “immediately wrong” and shows her as only being partially vaccinated.

“On October 4 I called the immunization records office again since it really was starting to matter that they hadn’t updated my file yet. Once again they told me, ‘we’re just very busy and updating records based on highest priority, but we guarantee they will all be updated by the time full vaccination status is required on October 24.’”

Despite the guarantee, Tubb is still waiting.

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Black Press reached out to Donnelly’s office for comment but did not hear back. Black Press also sent an email to Health Gateway asking them to explain why people like Tubb are experiencing significant delays and how many people may be experiencing the same problem.

Tubb said she was told on the phone by a staffer at the immunization records office that there are several other people experiencing similar issues.

“I was told ‘I know you’re frustrated but there are potentially thousands of these cases.’ She said it so blasé. How can you say that so casually? They told me they have lots of records to update and they’re updating them in priority order. But I submitted my records over two months ago and the website said it may take up to two weeks.”

“How are they determining priority? And there’s no indication of where you’re at or how you’ll be contacted. I was told they were escalating my case and I asked who are you escalating it to? What’s the department that handles this? She said she didn’t know.”

The entire experience has added extra stress for Tubb, who is already juggling being a new mom on top of running a small business from home.

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“It’s like a dark cloud hanging over me. All of this self-care is prescribed, they say take care of your mental state… it feels like I’m being asked to do the impossible which is to do all the work every day with none of the breaks and I can’t even plan or set up anything.”

“I feel like I have another full-time job which is trying to figure out this brand new bureaucratic COVID system.”

Tubb plans to visit her parents in Missouri again in-mid November and proof of vaccination will be required to fly as of November 30. She’s concerned that the lack of accurate records of her vaccine status will complicate her travels and potentially prevent her from visiting her parents in the future.

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She questions why the government would implement a system without first making sure people like her didn’t fall through the cracks.

“How dare this country and province put this policy in place, further restricting the rights and movements of their own citizens, but then if they are going to do something so bold and aggressive, how dare they screw it up this royally.”


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