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COVID Vaccination Update

Island Health continues to move forward with our COVID-19 vaccination program, offering vaccination appointments to the priority groups identified in the B.C. government's vaccine distribution strategy.

You may have seen colleagues in other health authorities receiving vaccinations, and wonder why you haven't been contacted yet. Be assured that all health authorities are rolling out their vaccination programs according to the same priority population order. 

Precise schedules may vary, depending on when vaccine supplies are received, but all groups across the province are being offered the vaccine at generally the same time.

Island Health continues to provide vaccination appointments to the group at the top of B.C.'s priority population list: staff, physicians and essential visitors to long-term care and assisted living facilities. 

Clinics for staff with appointments are being held in Victoria, Nanaimo and Campbell River, with additional sites opening soon in Duncan, Port Alberni and on Salt Spring Island.

We are preparing to move into the next important phase of this initiative: Providing vaccinations to residents of 110 long-term care and assisted living facilities across Island Health. That work starts the week of January 18, and is an important milestone in our shared effort to keep COVID-19 at bay.

Many people are aware that, after long-term care and assisted living staff and residents, the next large group to be eligible for vaccination appointments is health care workers providing care for COVID-19 patients in settings like Intensive Care Units, emergency departments, medical/surgical units and paramedics. 

Staff in those categories will begin receiving emails informing them how to make a vaccination appointment. Watch your email and speak with your leaders for more information about appointments.

We understand many people are eager to receive the vaccine, and may feel anxious about timelines.  Please know that everyone will have an opportunity to receive the vaccine in the order outlined in B.C.'s vaccination distribution strategy. 

More information about BC's plan for vaccine distribution, including timelines and other details, is available on the BC CDC website.  

PHASE 1: December to February

  • Staff and physicians in long-term care and assisted-living residences

  • Residents and their essential visitors in long-term care and assisted living residences

  • Individuals awaiting a long-term care or assisted living placement

  • Remote and isolated Indigenous communities and Indigenous communities experiencing a cluster or outbreak

  • Staff and physicians working in hospital where care is provided to COVID-19 patients (i.e. ICU, ED, medical/surgical and cohort units)

  • Paramedics

Total in Island Health: Between 27,000 and 33,000 - depending on vaccine uptake.​

PHASE 2: February to March 

  • Seniors - community-based, age 80 and above 

  • Indigenous seniors age 65 and above, and Indigenous elders 

  • People experiencing homelessness and/or using shelters 

  • Provincial correctional facilities 

  • Adults in group homes or mental health residential care 

  • Long-term home support recipients and staff 

  • Hospital staff, community GPs and medical specialists 

  • Remaining health care staff 

  • Indigenous communities not vaccinated in first priority group 

Total in Island Health: Between 88,000 and 108,000 - depending on vaccine uptake. 

​PHASE 3: General Population 

  • Vaccination of the wider population will begin once all priority groups are immunized and vaccine supplies are available

  • After initial priority groups are vaccinated in phases 1/2, additional groups may be prioritized for vaccination. 

  • The scheduling of priority groups for vaccination may be modified as transmission is monitored.​

NOTES 

  • After initial priority groups are vaccinated in phases 1/2, additional groups may be prioritized for vaccination. 

  • The scheduling of priority groups for vaccination may be modified as transmission is monitored.​

Question of the week:

What about second doses?

Following the direction of B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer, Island Health will schedule second doses to be administered 35 to 42 days after the first. Island Health's call centre will contact you when it's time to make that second appointment.  

This decision is supported by the World Health Organization and National Advisory Committee on Immunization in Canada.  Read more about the NACI's recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines (Jan. 12) on the Health Canada website.  Dr. Bonnie Henry also address this topic in her update to the province on Monday. You can read that transcript here.

Click here to watch this video and hear from Long-term care physician Dr. Peter Neweduk why this population is so important for the start of our immunization efforts.

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Do you want to become a pandemic immunizer?

Island Health has posted this Expression of Interest on VI-Hire for Nurses (RNs, RPNs & LPNs) who are interested in supporting the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out and who either have completion of the BCCDC Immunization Competency Course, or the BCCDC Condensed Competency Course for COVID-19.​