Island bending the curve, but getting young adults on board with vaccines will be key, says Island's top doctor
VICTORIA -- On Friday, Island Health’s chief medical health officer Dr. Richard Stanwick relayed more encouraging news about Vancouver Island’s continued efforts to bend the COVID-19 curve.
“(It’s) really quite impressive,” said Dr. Stanwick. “Only 103 new cases in the last seven days; it’s a 25 per cent decrease in cases from the week previously.”
That positive update came on the same day that the federal government announced a record number of weekly doses of COVID-19 vaccines are coming to Canada next week. Approximately 4.5 million total doses of Pfizer and Moderna are expected to arrive in the country, and some of that total is earmarked for B.C.
Stanwick says the biggest issue for the Island now isn’t getting enough vaccine, it’s convincing enough young people to get on board with getting a shot.
“Our challenge is reaching out to the younger cohorts to see whether they’re going to come,” he said. “Certainly, our numbers are not as impressive early on as we have seen with our older-age populations.”
Getting enough folks vaccinated was cited Friday by the federal government as a key target for lifting more significant restrictions during the summer, with a general target pegged at 75 per cent of people vaccinated with a first dose and 20 per cent with a second. That goal remains several weeks away at best.
As for getting kids 12 to 17 years old a shot, Dr. Stanwick says that likely will happen at the mass clinics for first doses, rather than at schools, with Moderna now potentially being used as well as Pfizer.
“When kids go back to school, many of them will have their first dose,” said Stanwick, noting the Island’s mass vaccination clinics have rolled through as many as 11,000 people in one day.
But starting right away, health officials are focused on getting young adults keen for a shot. Beginning on Sunday, those 18 and older can book their appointments.