Adults in 47 Interior communities being offered COVID-19 vaccine early

Bypassing age-based rollout

Adults in 47 communities across B.C.'s Interior have already been, or they soon will be, offered a COVID-19 vaccine, jumping the provincewide age-based rollout. Interior Health says these communities were chosen based on a number of criteria.

While most British Columbians must wait for the age-based rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, Interior Health is taking a “whole community approach” in dozens of smaller communities across the Interior.

On Thursday, IH chief medical health officer Dr. Albert de Villiers said there were three main reasons for choosing some regions over others.

“Part is because of population size ... if we go in and do the age cohort and we do 10 people every time it's just not going to work. So it's just more logistically practical to go in and do the whole community at one time,” Dr. de Villiers said.

“The other piece is that these communities have limited healthcare services and just a few cases might actually overwhelm them, so they are at higher risk.”

The third criteria he mentioned is the high rate of infection that some of these smaller communities have been seeing.

“To use the example of Windermere in the last week or so, because we looked at our rates of cases where they were the highest in our region at that time, and that's why we decided to go into a little bit of a bigger community,” Dr. de Villiers said.

With a population of just a little more than 10,000, the Windermere local health area has recorded 72 COVID cases between March 28 and April 17. Vaccination of all adults in the region began Monday.

Other communities where all adults are being vaccinated include Revelstoke, Sun Peaks, Sicamous and Enderby. A full list, with dates and locations of vaccination clinics, can be found here.

Residents of these communities are still required to book their vaccine appointments online or by phone, at 1-833-838-2323

As of Thursday evening, the province opened its age-based vaccination appointments to British Columbians 60 and older.

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