Northern Health staffers greeted Houston and area residents who qualified March 22 for the first community COVID-19 vaccination clinic. (Angelique Houlihan photo)
Northern Health staffers greeted Houston and area residents who qualified March 22 for the first community COVID-19 vaccination clinic. From the left, Kali Russell, Connie Hardy, Cindy Cockle, Brennan McKone and Marla Hamblin. (Angelique Houlihan photo/Houston Today)

Northern Health staffers greeted Houston and area residents who qualified March 22 for the first community COVID-19 vaccination clinic. (Angelique Houlihan photo) Northern Health staffers greeted Houston and area residents who qualified March 22 for the first community COVID-19 vaccination clinic. From the left, Kali Russell, Connie Hardy, Cindy Cockle, Brennan McKone and Marla Hamblin. (Angelique Houlihan photo/Houston Today)

Busy day as Northern Health holds first community vaccination clinic

Multi-day clinic planned for next month

Approximately 130 people were given their first shot of the COVID-19 prevention vaccine last week as Northern Health held a one-day community clinic at the main Coast Mountain College building here.

Last week’s one-day effort on March 22 was for Indigenous people over the age of 65 and others over the age of 80.

But as Mar. 25, Northern Health opened up its booking line to anyone over the age of 18, setting the stage for a multi-day clinic beginning April 6 and lasting until April 16.

That follows the decision by Northern Health to concentrate on smaller communities for now.

Granisle is also having a community-wide clinic, open to all age groups beginning April 7 and lasting until April 9.

Last week’s vaccinations in Houston were not the first here as health care workers and those who care for senior citizens received their first shots earlier this year.

And last week’s clinic may have provided vaccinations to people who did not fall within the advertised age categories.

That’s because not all of the vaccine made available may have been used by the time the clinic was finished and because of the limited shelf life, Northern Health staffers would have contacted other people.

“We make some quick decisions to ensure that appointments are filled and vaccine is used,” said Northern Health communications official Steve Raper.

Community clinics in Burns Lake and on the Southside March 16 and March 17 resulted in approximately 800 shots given.

In those communities, just like in Houston, the age has now dropped to 18 with multi-day clinics beginning there on April 9. The appointment bookings for Burns Lake started on Mar. 25 however, the health authority revised that later and opened up the booking starting Mar. 29.

Aside from age-based vaccinations, because the amount of vaccine is increasing, the province last week began expanding the eligibility to teachers, grocery store workers, health care workers who did not previously fit into a priority category and others who are in close contact with the public.

Some of those people have been vaccinated now and that will now accelerate.

People with severe health conditions are also eligible to receive their shots earlier than first anticipated.

(With files from Priyanka Ketkar)

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