Cindy Fortin

Peachland Mayor Cindy Fortin shows an invitation to book a COVID-19 vaccination letter that she received from Interior Health. She won't be getting an early shot, saying she believes there are "many more people who need to get this vaccine ahead of me".

Peachland Mayor Cindy Fortin declined an offer from Interior Health to get a COVID-19 vaccination shot ahead of other people her age.

Fortin says she wouldn't feel right getting the shot when other people she believes are in greater need of vaccination are still waiting.

"I feel that there are many more people who need to get this vaccine ahead of me," Fortin said in an interview Thursday.

"I"m fine, I feel good, I feel healthy, and I want to get the vaccine," she said. "But I just feel that I cannot, in good conscience, go and get a vaccination when there are so many other people waiting."

Interior Health held a vaccination clinic Thursday in Peachland for the approximately 1,000 town residents who are 70 and older.

Fortin, who is in her 50s, got a letter from Interior Health saying she would qualify for a shot ahead of her age group. But Fortin says she doesn't know why she would qualify, and she says the "form letter" does not provide specifics.

"I don't really know why I was offered the chance to book a vaccination appointment," Fortin said. "The letter just says, because of a medication you're taking or because of a health condition, but I can't imagine what it is."

The invitation to get an early vaccine shot has nothing to do with her being mayor or the role she played in getting the clinic set up in Peachland, Fortin said.

This week, it emerged that Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, 43, has been vaccinated against COVID-19. He says he was offered the vaccine because he volunteers at a coffee shop in Kelowna General Hospital for four hours a week.

Other people who volunteer through the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation have also been vaccinated, foundation president Doug Rankmore said in a press release distributed by the City of Kelowna.

Basran has defended his decision to get a vaccine ahead of people in his age group, saying it would help keep people safe at the hospital.

"I don't consider it queue jumping. I got the vaccine when I was allowed to get it," Basran told an interviewer. "I'll make no apologies for it."

For her part, Fortin says she's content to wait for a vaccine until other people her age get the shot.

"There's no way I'm going to go get a vaccination when I know there's people who are waiting patiently to have theirs done," Fortin said. "My heart goes out to them."