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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C – Northern Health encourages residents to register before COVID-19 vaccine appointment bookings become available to accommodate clinic preparations.

Spokesperson Eryn Collins says the accelerated registration and scheduling appointments announced Monday are due to many factors, including the north’s low population.

“…and we have fewer people in the specific age-based demographic groups that were eligible. we’ve had a condensed schedule pretty much since the start,” says Collins.

The health authority is also ahead of schedule because of the ongoing vaccine supply, and the advanced planning required for smaller and remote communities.

Northern Health released an updated schedule Monday for registrations. On Wednesday, registration opened for anyone 50 years and older. It then opened to 45 years and older Friday, and on Monday, April 19th, registration will be open to people 40 years and older.

“We want to encourage people to register ahead of time as they’re eligible because that’s going to give us a better idea in advance of who wants the vaccine and what type of clinic capacity we might need to plan for.”

Suppose the clinics run through a specific age group quicker than expected. Registrations will ensure the clinics are running at capacity at the next age group.

Many residents have voiced their displeasure with the wait times between registering and booking their vaccine dose. Collins says there isn’t a set turn around time.

“The wait between registering and booking will be related to how long it takes for us to get to that eligibility group for booking and actually administering the vaccine.”

As for how many residents have received their dose in the region, the province and health authorities are working to acquire additional data on immunization rates by local health area. Collins says the data should be available in the next few weeks.

“At this point, it looks like we’re at about 30 per cent of the population over the age of 18 overall across the northern health region that has been immunized.”

Before receiving a vaccine, residents must first register through the B.C. government registration portal or by phone at 1-833-838-2323. Once registered, residents will be contacted by Northern Health to book a vaccine appointment.

Appointments take about 10 minutes, and Northern Health asks residents to wait an extra 15 minutes for observation before leaving the clinic.

The following are vaccination clinics being offered through Northern Health:

 

 

 

 

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