Vancouver program seeks to reduce lung cancer deaths by getting vaccinated for free

Over the past year, groups of volunteers have been visiting homes in Vancouver’s South Granville neighbourhood to immunize children for lung cancer. Vancouver’s Comvid-19 program was started last February after a group of local residents were moved by the story of Scarlett Rose.

Scarlett was a 16-month-old child whose arm was amputated after being diagnosed with a congenital heart disease called congenital respiratory insufficiency. Scarlett was at risk of developing a secondary mass on her lungs. An alternative was immunizing her with the deadly lung cancer COVID-19.

“We are very tired of kids suffering from COVID-19 and no one knows why,” said Rita Wong, co-founder of Comvid-19. “So we were talking about it one day and said: ‘Why not try?’ And so we did.”

Mr. Wong was confident that the community of volunteers was an ideal match to provide the free vaccine to the South Granville community, as well as other urban Vancouver neighbourhoods. The volunteers include doctors, nurses, medical technicians, pharmacists, business owners, people with no health background and more.

Since February, 2016, the group has vaccinated between 2,000 and 2,500 children and young adults aged nine to 26-years-old.

“We don’t have people sitting in the hospital; we don’t have people who are bed-ridden; we don’t have children who don’t have a parent; we don’t have home care,” said Dr. Kate Lundie, clinical director of healthy communities with Vancouver Coastal Health. “We have a lot of people who are passionate about immunizing and we are just a wonderful partnership of different professions.”

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The program aims to save three lives each month through immunization.

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