FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – COVID-19 vaccinations are on the rise in the Northeast part of the province, according to Northern Health,

While on the June 11th issue of Moose Talks, Northeast Chief Operating Officer, Angela De Smit, said rates have improved in the last week.

“We have seen some really big gains last week in terms of increasing our numbers. For instance, Tumbler Ridge went from 53 to 57 per cent, Fort St. John is sitting between 46 and 49 per cent covered, recognizing that was last week and we continue to deliver over 500 doses a day in Fort St. John.”

De Smit mentions that numbers in FSJ are slightly lower due to the rural numbers affiliated with the city, which brings the North Peace numbers down to around 35 to 36 per cent.

The drive-thru vaccination clinic launched on Thursday and De Smit said they had a goal of getting 70 people vaccinated and surpassed the goal with 84.

When it comes to low vaccination numbers, De Smit says there are a few things to take into account. For example, the northeast and FSJ started vaccinations a bit later than most places in the province due to the younger age group in the area and the age-based approach the province conducted.

“For us to get down to where we significantly get the numbers, that didn’t happen until like 50 to 30 as compared to other communities that have a larger elderly population. Also, the vaccine supply initially [was low] and now it’s more in terms of the immunizers.”

Regarding the nursing shortage that seems to be affecting the entire province, De Smit says Northern Health is still struggling in some areas with finding nurses. She says it is a country-wide issue, but they have been hiring students from Northern Lights College.

Northern Health nurses and staff are also taking over the North Peace Arena parking lot on June 11-12 and June 14-15. The drive-thru clinic will run from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

As of June 7th, vaccine rates for aged 12 and up were at 44 per cent in the North Peace, 46 per cent in the South Peace and 46 per cent in Fort Nelson. Adult vaccine rates were at 47 per cent in the North Peace, 49 per cent in the South Peace, and 51 per cent in Fort Nelson.

 

The full Moose Talks interview can be viewed below.