Northern Health has regular clinics providing a COVID-19 vaccine. (Angelique Houlihan photo)

Northern Health has regular clinics providing a COVID-19 vaccine. (Angelique Houlihan photo)

Local COVID vaccination rate lags behind provincial average

Clinics available at least three times a week

The local COVID-19 vaccination rate is slowly inching up, remaining behind just behind the northern average and considerably behind the provincial average.

As of Sept. 22, 72 per cent of Houston residents, or 2,435 people age 12 and over, have received a first dose, while 2,067 of those people, or 61 per cent, have received their second dose.

For first dose recipients, that’s an increase of 49 people from Sept. 15 while for second dose recipients, the increase is 40 people.

Meanwhile, across the north, a least 74 per cent of the population age 12 and over has received at least a first dose.

Province-wide, as of late last week, just over 87 per cent of the eligible population age 12 and older had received a first dose with 80 per cent receiving their second dose.

The statistics in the Burns Lake area do differ slightly as Burns Lake itself, the area south of Burns Lake and the area north of Burns Lake are listed separately.

For Burns Lake proper, the percentage rate of first doses as of Sept. 21 is 78 per cent and 67 per cent for second doses. For the area north of Burns Lake, the first dose percentage is 71 per cent and 64 for second doses while for Burns Lake south, the rate is 61 per cent for first doses and 55 per cent for second doses.

When looking at vaccination rates for young people from 12-17, it’s 54 per cent for first dose and 39 per cent for second dose in Houston.

For Burns Lake proper, it is 58 per cent for first dose and 40 per cent for second dose while it is 31 per cent for first dose and 23 per cent for second dose for the area south of Burns Lake and 45 per cent for first dose and 36 per cent for second dose for the area north of Burns Lake.

Meanwhile, the number for COVID cases for the Smithers area, which includes Houston, dipped from 117 for the week of Sept. 5-11 to 74 for the week of Sept. 12-18.

There were 15 cases in Burns Lake from Sept. 12-18, one less than the 16 cases recorded for the week of Sept. 5-11.

For the Nechako area which reaches east of Burns Lake, there were 69 cases from Sept. 12-18, slightly fewer than the 72 cases for the week of Sept. 5-11.

Vaccination rates generally lower than the provincial average in the north, the region now has the highest COVID-19 rate per capita in the province.

And vaccination rates are the lowest in the northeastern part of the province.

Last week the provincial health ministry began flying ICU patients to hospitals in the south to relieve the pressure on northern hospitals.

Northern Health Authority vaccine clinics are ongoing at a former Coast Mountain College building in Houston, taking place at various times on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays each week. The authority does ask that people make appointments but drop ins are also welcome.