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What’s the deal with TAP forms and other Bowen COVID-19 information

A few Bowen-specific updates for the week of April 30
Vaccination site sign at Bowen Island Community School
No more vaccine clinic days are so far scheduled for Bowen Islanders and Cates Pharmacy says its out of AstraZeneca.

No, travel assistance program (TAP) forms cannot be used for vaccine trips. Vancouver Coastal Health confirmed this week that TAP isn’t available for those accessing vaccinations.

However, those accessing COVID-19 testing are eligible.

While usually to qualify for TAP the service must be both non-emergency medical specialist service insured by MSP and not offered by a local, regional or travelling medical specialist, an exception was made for COVID-19 testing. “An exception was made to allow beneficiaries to access TAP when required to travel for a clinically-recommended COVID-19 test,” said a Ministry of Health spokesperson. “TAP would apply to Bowen Island residents required to travel off-site for testing, given that no testing site is available locally.”


Cates Medicine Centre is out of AstraZeneca

The province announced last week that it is running low on the pharmacy-administered AstraZeneca vaccine and would be redirecting remaining doses to hotspot communities.

Cates Medicine Centre administered the last of its 300 doses Wednesday morning, said owner Shahzad Mirsaeidi.

“We don’t know when we are going to get [another] batch, if any,” said Mirsaeidi. “We have no news from the government so far.”

Some Bowen Islanders who had appointments booked this week and next had their vaccinations cancelled.

Boweners eligible for the Vancouver Coastal Health-administered Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are still being directed to the mainland as no more island clinic days are listed on the VCH website. According to the province, as of next Thursday all B.C. residents 50 and over will be eligible to book a vaccination appointment. 


Ferry travel to Bowen down last weekend. 

It was widely reported Monday that travel was down system-wide for BC Ferries following new travel restrictions and rainy weather. Getting island specific, Travel on the ferry between Horseshoe Bay and Bowen Island was down 35 per cent in passengers and 21 per cent in vehicles compared to the previous weekend, according to Deborah Marshall, executive director of public affairs for B.C. Ferries.