Interior Health is vaccinating entire adult populations of dozens of small communities

Vaccinating entire towns

Adult residents of dozens of small Interior communities are, or soon will be, eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of their age.

Interior Health has taken a “whole community approach” to its immunization program in small communities across the Interior, for people 18 and older. IH says residents of these communities face barriers to accessing larger immunization clinics in urban places, so smaller clinics are being brought to them.

While some clinics have already come and gone, others are currently in operation, others will be up and running in the coming weeks.

In a curious move, IH has made no mention to the media of immunizing entire populations of dozens of smaller communities, but Castanet has reached out for more information.

Communities in the Thompson-Okanagan include:

  • Ashcroft (April 26 – May 6)
  • Barriere (April 22 – April 30)
  • Beaverdell (April 12)
  • Cache Creek (April 26 – May 6)
  • Celista (April 6 – April 10)
  • Chase (April 12 – April 21)
  • Enderby (March 15 – ongoing)
  • Greenwood (April 16- April 17)
  • Lee Creek (April 12 – April 21)
  • Magna Bay (April 6 – April 10)
  • Scotch Creek (April 6 – April 10)
  • Seymour Arm (April 6 – April 10)
  • Sicamous (March 25 – April 30)
  • Sun Peaks (May 4 – May 7)

A full list of the 47 communities where adult residents can be vaccinated can be found here.

Residents can register for their vaccine appointment online here, or by calling 1-833-838-2323 between 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Those living outside of the noted communities must wait for the age-based vaccine rollout. Currently, those 64 and older can book their appointment, while those between 55 and 65 can receive their AztraZeneca vaccine at a local pharmacy.

“Immunization clinics will verify postal codes at the time of appointments,” IH said in a statement. “We are aware of some instances of people traveling from other regions to seek vaccinations in these communities. This not only takes away from the calculated vaccine supply for the community but may also potentially expose residents to COVID-19 when people travel from other regions.”

The entire adult population of the Windermere local health area in eastern B.C. will also be able to receive their vaccine starting Monday, after new cases have soared there in recent weeks.

The Windermere local health area, which includes Invermere, Radium Hot Springs, Windermere, Fairmont Hot Springs and Canal Flats, saw new weekly cases jump to 24 between March 28 and April 3, followed by another 34 between April 4 and 10.

With a population of just over 10,000 people, the most recent data shows a weekly infection rate of 335 cases per 100,000 people. The Central Okanagan, meanwhile, had a weekly infection rate of 136 cases per 100,000 people. As a result, Interior Health has made the move to vaccinate the entire community, to limit transmission.

A similar move to vaccinate most of a region's population was recently made in Whistler, where widespread transmission has led to a large number of P.1 variant of concern cases.

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