Everyone over 18 in Interior Health willing to get first jab could have it by end of May | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Everyone over 18 in Interior Health willing to get first jab could have it by end of May

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
May 14, 2021 - 2:25 PM

As of this Sunday, all Interior Health residents over the age of 18 can start booking their COVID-19 vaccines.

That means, everyone willing to get vaccinated will be able to get that shot by the end of the month, according to the Interior Health Authority.

“We are aiming to have availability in our clinics within two weeks of the invite going out,” Karen Bloemink, Interior Health’s vice-president for pandemic response said during a news briefing today, May 14. “We are building out capacity based on that target and we are finding that we are able to do that in all of our communities.”

Provincial health officials, earlier this month, had talked about reaching that level of vaccination by the end of June but with more vaccines arriving in the province recently, that level of vaccination will be reached sooner.

Residents of Summerland and Rutland were identified last week as living in high transmission/low vaccination communities so all residents were able to book earlier and steps have been taken to make room for them in clinics.

The key to reaching maximum vaccination targets is for people to register on B.C.’s Get Vaccinated website.

That’s not to say everyone is willing to get vaccinated.

“It’s varied across the region,” chief medical health officer Dr. Albert de Villiers said. “We’ve seen some places where there’s been really good uptake and we’ve seen some places where there’s a little bit of vaccine hesitancy. It’s the same group of people that launched, because they don’t want to wear masks they don’t want to take the vaccine. It’s really a small minority of the population.”

About 80 per cent of Interior Health residents over 70 years are vaccinated. He estimated five to 10 per cent of the population are actively against the vaccine.

Interior Health is using social media as well as talking to local civic and business leaders to encourage those aged 18 to 50 to register for the vaccines, Bloemink said. That’s the age group with the lowest rate of registration.

“Most of the population do understand, yes, this is an important thing to do and it’s an important vaccine to take and there’s no pushback from most people,” Dr. de Villiers said. “For some people, it’s honestly, just tardiness. They don’t have the time yet to book.”

Register at the Get Vaccinated website here or phone 1-833-838-2323.

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