Island Health poised to immunize nearly 17,000 per day against COVID-19
VICTORIA -- British Columbia's ambitious COVID-19 vaccination plan expects that over 4.3 million people will be immunized by September.
On Friday, the provincial government announced its four-phase vaccine rollout.
The plan will see the largest immunization program in B.C. history underway between April and September. It's expected that 7.4 million doses of vaccine will be needed to complete the project.
The program will focus on breaking B.C.'s population down by age. Vaccination cohorts will be separated in five-year increments.
According to Dr. Penny Ballem, the executive lead for B.C's immunization efforts, phase one has already seen 103,000 people receive their first dose of vaccine.
"Every immunization for COVID-19 is one step closer to a healthier future for us all," said Dr. Ballem.
Efforts will now focus on getting those high-risk individuals their second dose.
Health officials noted this could be complicated by the recent supply issues with Pfizer.
Canadian health officials announced Friday morning that no Pfizer vaccines would be arriving in Canada next week.
Starting in late February, phase two will expand immunizations to other vulnerable populations.
This will include seniors over the age of 80, Indigenous communities and elders, vulnerable populations, and health-care staff.
Phase three, which will launch in April, marks the start of the mass vaccination program provincewide.
People between the ages of 75 to 79 will start the program, which will then work backwards in five-year increments.
Phase four, starting in July, will vaccinate the remainder of the population based on age.
VANCOUVER ISLAND ROLLOUT
On Vancouver Island, it’s expected that 16,900 people in the Island Health region will be immunized daily between April and September. That's 84,500 people per week.
Local health authorities have been tasked with finding large locations to house mass vaccination clinics.
Stadiums, arenas and large venues are expected to be taken over by health authorities in the coming months.
Transit buses and other large vehicles will serve as makeshift vaccination clinics for more remote regions.
An army of health-care workers, family doctors and pharmacists will be the face of the program.
The province estimates that 120 immunizers will be needed daily in the Island Health region.
Staff will work in seven-hour shifts and are projected to give shots to 20 people per hour.
Starting in March, pre-registration for vaccinations will launch online and over the phone.
Seniors in earlier phases will be contacted by health officials to schedule their shots.