Northern Health has scheduled four COVID-19 vaccination clinic days in June, following up on last Friday’s clinic and one on May 21 in a bid to increase the number of people who have at least received their first shot.
When the previous community clinic closed down last month, Northern Health reported 1,605 people had received a shot, approximately 47 per cent of the population over the age of 18 Northern Health had estimated as eligible for vaccination.
At first the emphasis was on Indigenous people over the age of 65 and others over the age of 80 but the clinic was then opened up to anyone over the age of 18, something that happened in other smaller communities throughout the north.
A first and smaller clinic aimed at elderly people in care facilities and health care workers vaccinated approximately 50 people.
Houston and Granisle were two of approximately one dozen smaller communities in the north where everyone over the age of 18 is eligible for a vaccination as it is more efficient to do it that way then having to set up different clinic periods based on age or other categories.
This past Friday’s clinic and the one this Friday and the four planned next month follow increasing amounts of vaccine arriving in the province as health authorities reach toward a goal of providing a first shot to anyone eligible and who wants one by the end of June.
Last week the province passed the 50 per cent mark of first doses with 65-70 per cent considered what’s needed to reach the herd or community immunization level.
Herd or community immunity is defined as when a large enough portion of a population is resistant to a virus, infection rates drop and the virus peters out. While not every person may be immune, the whole population has protection.
The numbers of those who become eligible will also increase as health officials drop age qualification levels.
Northern Health is also advising people in the Houston area and in Granisle that they now need to register online with the provincial government’s vaccination site both for a first dose and for a second dose. People can also phone a 1-800 number.
“Whether you missed the first dose community clinic, or you want to book your second dose approximately 16 weeks after your first, you must now register in order to book your vaccine,” it says in an online posting.
“Registration ensures that you will be notified as soon as you become eligible. Registration is still required if you have been added to a local wait list for your first dose.”
It means, said Northern Health’s Eryn Collins, that people who have already registered and received their first dose, there is no need to register again.
“They will be notified,” she said as the second dose time period becomes closer.
And when an email does arrive for people to book an appointment, they can choose a clinic date and location suitable to them.
So Granisle residents can then book dates for one of the Houston clinics if that is suitable to their circumstances, said Collins.
Register online (24 hours a day): getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca
Register by phone (7 days a week, 7 am to 7 pm PDT): 1-833-838-2323