Dreams of concerts, travel touted as ways to boost Interior Health vaccination rates | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Dreams of concerts, travel touted as ways to boost Interior Health vaccination rates

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
May 21, 2021 - 3:29 PM

Interior Health is reaching out to young "influencers" in the hope they will help get out the COVID-19 vaccination message as youth as young as 12 are now eligible for the jab.

One way to get more people, especially younger people, to vaccinate is to use more social media, said two young influencers at an Interior Health media conference today, May 21.

Looking back on the way life used to be is also a helpful tool.

“For a lot of people I’ve been talking to who are a little more hesitant, I just bring up old memories of concerts and stuff that we used to be able to go to,” Amber Wimbleton said when asked what message she has for young people about vaccinations. “The more people that get vaccinated, the closer we are to getting back to that sort of stuff.”

Audrey Wittmann, the other young influencer, focused more on travel.

“I reminisce with them about all the fun times we’ve had or all the plans we’re making,” Wittmann said. “I have a lot of friends who want to go travelling with me. A couple of us are going to be turning 21 soon and we all want to go to Vegas. For those who are hesitant, I go: ‘Don’t you want to go? I don’t know if you’ll be able to go if you’re not vaccinated.’”

Wimbleton said her female friends are keener about getting vaccinated than males, who say things like they don’t want to take the time off work.

“For those younger men in our lives, the needles are really small,” said Interior Health’s chief medical health officer Dr. Albert de Villiers, who got his shot recently. “Even if you’re scared of a needles, it’s not that bad.”

Kelowna city councillor and business owner Loyal Wooldridge asked anyone with a social media following to promote vaccine registration as much as possible.

Meanwhile, a Kelowna neighbourhood with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the health region is doing better but still playing catchup compared to the other local health areas.

There will be a special vaccination event in Rutland next week, Dr. de Villiers said, but he offered no details.

The Rutland vaccination rate has grown from 28 per cent to 45 per cent but the average vaccination rate in the health region is more than 50 per cent.

He noted that almost 450,000 IH residents have been vaccinated and 35,000 to 40,000 more are getting the shots every day.

Daily counts of new COVID cases are slowly coming down and the region has not been infected as much by people travelling from Alberta where case counts are much higher as was feared, he said.

Register for vaccinations at the Get Vaccinated website here or by calling 1-833-838-2323.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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