Skip to content

Words of experience: Island man, 99, urges others to get vaccinated

Alberni’s Ben Leung among those baring their arms as COVID-19 vaccination clinics open on the Island
Ben Leung, 99, of Port Alberni receives his first Moderna COVID-19 vaccination at Port Alberni’s mass immunization clinic at the Alberni Athletic Hall on Monday, March 15, 2021. Leung only qualified this week because he is not living in a long-term care home. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

When Port Alberni’s mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic opened on Monday, March 15 at the Alberni Athletic Hall, 99-year-old Ben Leung made sure he had an appointment.

Leung grinned as he walked to Station No. 4, where a registered nurse asked him a series of questions before asking in which arm he would like to receive his first COVID-19 vaccination. People at the clinic Monday received the Moderna vaccine.

“It was very easy; no pain at all,” he said once he was finished and sitting in the waiting area until he could leave. Despite his age, Leung had to wait until the community clinic to be vaccinated because he is still living at home and not in a long-term care facility.

RELATED: Half of Canadians want first COVID-19 vaccine available: poll

RELATED: Vancouver Island clinics prepare for mass immunizations to start

Leung and his daughter, Susanna Eng, wanted to share their experience to encourage their family and friends to consider getting the vaccine. “It’s to protect myself and my family; for everybody,” said Leung, who is the first in his family to receive a vaccination. Leung and Eng ran the Jade Restaurant on lower Third Avenue for decades before it closed.

Although Leung is still driving, his daughter Susanna Eng brought him to the Athletic Hall clinic on Monday. “I drove here because he was too excited,” Eng said.

Eng said she will be back to the clinic on Wednesday for her own vaccination.

There was a steady number of people arriving at the Athletic Hall for their vaccinations on Monday. Watching her father, Bernie Hill, 90, receive his vaccination was emotional for Shirley DeRusha, who teared up as soon as the RN finished with the needle.

“I’m very happy,” Hill said.

Anyone receiving their vaccinations on Monday was told to start calling in June for their second dose.

An immunization clinic was also open at the Port Alberni Friendship Center on Fourth Avenue.

Information about community clinic locations and who qualifies next for vaccinations can be found on Island Health’s website.

To make an appointment, an eligible person or someone calling on their behalf can call 1-833-348-4787 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., seven days a week. Call centre operators will ask for legal name, date of birth, postal code, personal health number, phone number and an e-mail address.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.
Ben Leung, 99, and his daughter Susanna Eng sit in the waiting area of Island Health’s massCOVID-19 immunization clinic at the Alberni Athletic Hall on Monday, March 15, 2021. Leung just received his first Moderna vaccination and was waiting the prescribed amount of time before he could leave. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Bernie Hill, 90, of Port Alberni receives his first Moderna COVID-19 vaccination on Monday, March 15, 2021. Hill was part of the first day of Port Alberni’s mass immunization clinic at the Alberni Athletic Hall. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Susie Quinn

About the Author: Susie Quinn

A journalist since 1987, I proudly serve as the Alberni Valley News editor.
Read more