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HomeNewsProvince announces new efforts to make COVID-19 vaccines more accessible

Province announces new efforts to make COVID-19 vaccines more accessible

Provincial Health officials announced health authorities across the province will be hosting some new unique ways residents will be able to get vaccinated through the new “Vax for BC’ campaign.

They say the next two weeks are imperative to the success of BC’s vaccine rollout program, during this time efforts to get residents vaccinated will be amplified.

According to the province, BC’s vaccine strategy will shift towards more local public health clinics, community outreach efforts, mobile programs, and pop-up clinics in the weeks ahead.

Starting today (Tuesday), and lasting throughout the month of August, community events, “vax vans” and mobile clinics will be popping up in dozens of communities to get more people vaccinated with their first and second doses.

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On August 4th, the province will be holding “Walk-in-Wednesday, where all vaccine clinics in BC will welcome walk-in appointments alongside the booked appointments.

On this day 20,000 shots will be available for residents to receive without an appointment for their first or second dose.

Dr.Bonnie Henry says even though the vaccination rollout plan has been successful, there is still more work to be done.

“We know that some people still struggle to find a convenient time in their day to get immunized and others may still have questions and be hesitant about the vaccine,” said Henry.

A list of mobile, drop in and drive-thru clinics can be found on the Vax for BC website.

While registration and booking using the provincial Get Vaccinated system are still encouraged, these events will allow eligible people to walk in and receive a vaccine without a scheduled appointment.

Additionally, beginning on August 4th, BC is dropping the interval from 8 weeks to 6 or 7 weeks (about 49 days) between first and second vaccine doses.

According to the province, this gap will be closer to 6 weeks in areas where there are higher rates of virus transmission.

After the initial efforts throughout August, the province will then gradually refocus vaccination efforts from mass clinics onto programs targetting specific communities where the need is greatest, as more and more people get vaccinated.

“Data shows us that less than 5% of the COVID-19 cases that we’re seeing right now are amongst people that are fully vaccinated. 96% are people who have received just one dose and 78% are among people who have not been vaccinated at all, and as we know, that is a small proportion of people in this province,” said Henry.

She adds that people who are fully vaccinated are significantly less likely to be hospitalized or to have a severe illness.

From June 15 to July 15, 68 unvaccinated people died from the virus, and 8 partially vaccinated people passed away while one fully vaccinated person died.

During this time, 137 unvaccinated people were sent to the hospital, 31 partially vaccinated people were sent and 8 fully vaccinated residents were.

Currently, just under 1 million residents remain unvaccinated while 3,736,651 people (80.6%) 12 and older have received their first dose and 2,840,194 (61.3%) have been fully vaccinated.

In Northern Health, vaccination rates of residents 12+ are the greatest in Kitimat as 86% of the population has received at least a first shot, while the lowest rate is in Peace River North which is at 52%.

For Interior Health, that rate is the highest in Revelstoke as it stands at 85%, and it is the lowest in Enderby at 59%, as of July 22nd.

Henry adds that data shows generally vaccine uptake has been an issue across BC due to convenience and people having unanswered questions about the vaccines.

story done by Dione Wearmouth, staff

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