COVID MILESTONE: Interior Health looks ahead to 2nd vaccine doses for region’s most vulnerable

A mother and daughter in an Interior Health care home, who’s names are being withheld due to privacy, receive their COVID-19 vaccine together. (Photo courtesy of Interior Health)A mother and daughter in an Interior Health care home, who’s names are being withheld due to privacy, receive their COVID-19 vaccine together. (Photo courtesy of Interior Health)
A mother and daughter in an Interior Health care home, who’s names are being withheld due to privacy, receive their COVID-19 vaccine together. (Photo courtesy of Interior Health)A mother and daughter in an Interior Health care home, who’s names are being withheld due to privacy, receive their COVID-19 vaccine together. (Photo courtesy of Interior Health)
A mother and daughter in an Interior Health care home, who’s names are being withheld due to privacy, receive their COVID-19 vaccine together. (Photo courtesy of Interior Health)A mother and daughter in an Interior Health care home, who’s names are being withheld due to privacy, receive their COVID-19 vaccine together. (Photo courtesy of Interior Health)

Health teams in Interior Health reached a milestone, today (Jan.29).

All residents and staff in 124 long-term care homes and assisted living sites, in 38 communities across Interior Health (IH), will have been offered their initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

This marks the completion of the first of many stages in the roll-out of the vaccine in the Interior – the largest vaccine campaign in IH history.

“I think it’s excellent because that means we are starting at least to protect the most vulnerable in our population,” said Interior Health chief medical health officer, Albert de Villiers.

By September, all 700,000 people over 16 years old in the health region should have been offered a jab.

As of Jan. 28, about 20,000 doses have been administered in the Interior so far. Not everyone is choosing to be vaccinated, but IH stated this number is nearly negligible.

“We are finding that our acceptance rate is not 100 per cent. And this is true for all – when we look at historical uptake for immunizations. It’s rare that we would be at 100 per cent,” said Interior Health’s vice-president of pandemic response, Karen Bloemink.

Those who chose not to be vaccinated will be given another chance when second doses are due.

“Even getting one dose, you’ll have very good protection – up to 90 per cent – against the virus,” de Villiers said, adding a second dose would push this to between 94 and 95 per cent.

Residents at Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna celebrate receiving their COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy of Interior Health)

Residents at Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna celebrate receiving their COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy of Interior Health)

Now the health authority will continue to focus on completing the vaccinations of acute care staff at hospitals around the region – those in emergency departments, critical care and in-patient units.

With a limited supply of vaccines, health teams are juggling resources while trying to figure out where doses should be allotted. When the outbreak started at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, more vaccines were assigned to that effort, pulling some away from other parts of the region.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being administered, but cannot be mixed. If you start with Pfizer, your second dose 42 days later must also be Pfizer. Moderna is being administered to more remote communities and centres, as it is easier to transport, as the Pfizer vaccine must be kept at extremely cold temperatures.

For Bloemink, the sheer magnitude of this vaccine campaign has set it apart from others in the past. This, as well as the storage difficulties, issues with supply, and the possibility of outbreaks requiring vaccinations, have been hurdles for health teams to overcome.

A challenge going forward, de Villiers explained, will be keeping people motivated to get a vaccine. As more are vaccinated, he anticipated fewer people will get sick, and fewer will die, and that may lead to complacency. However, he said it’s important as many people get vaccinated as possible.

“We’ve got the most vulnerable people protected, now let’s keep on going.”

Health experts still stress that everyone should continue to be safe and follow health guidelines.

“Yes, we are starting to protect the most vulnerable people, but there’s still a lot of other people that can get sick. Let’s hope by the summer, by the fall, we will be able to start relaxing some of these measures and get back to a little bit of normal again.”

To learn more on the timing of the vaccine roll-out, eligibility, or ask questions, visit ImmunizeBC.ca

READ MORE: B.C. announces 514 new COVID-19 cases, 5 additional deaths

READ MORE: Couple faces struggle after baby tests positive for COVID-19

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: phil.mclachlan@kelownacapnews.com


 

@newspaperphil
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirusvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The city of Williams Lake will help fund a position at Canadian Mental Health Association Cariboo Chilcotin Branch for mental health programs using some of the COVID safe restart grant the city received from the province. (City of Williams Lake photo)
City of Williams Lake allocates 35K to support mental health programs

The funding for CMHA coming from the COVID Safe Restart grant the city received

Speed reader data collected between March 1 and April 28, 2021 indicated 94.68 per cent of vehicles traveling through kept below or to the 50 km hour speed limit. (Angie Mindus file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
City council agrees further speed restrictions not warranted for Westridge area of Williams Lake

Staff bases decision on speed reader data collected over six-week period

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson speaking in the legislature Monday, May 10. (Video screen shot)
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA calls for rural infrastructure renewal fund

Lorne Doerkson said central parts of rural B.C. devastated by flooding, crumbling infrastructure

(File photo)
Firearms offence at McLeese Lake tree planting camp under RCMP investigation

On May 10 Williams Lake RCMP were called to the camp, located at the 2200 block of Beaver Lake Rd.

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Colleen Price, Vancouver Island University’s bachelor of science in nursing program chairperson, says she is impressed with how students have persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Next generation of B.C. nurses already showing resilience

University program head says learning had to be adjusted amidst pandemic

Two-year-old Kashius Weme rides at the Steve Smith Memorial Bike Park in Nanaimo on Tuesday, May 11. The youngster’s precocious bike-riding ability is already attracting cycle sponsors. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
2-year-old B.C. bike rider already attracting cycle sponsors

Nanaimo’s Kashius Weme has a knack for extreme cycle sports

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

Most Read