Health Minister ‘impressed’ with vaccine rate in FSJ

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Health Minister Adrian Dix says Fort St. John’s vaccine rate reflects the extraordinary …

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Health Minister Adrian Dix says Fort St. John’s vaccine rate reflects the extraordinary effort put in compared to where immunization rates stood earlier this year.

The Province announced circuit breaker restrictions in October to curb COVID-19 transmission in the north. At the time, 73 per cent of Fort St. John residents received their first vaccine dose, and 60 per cent got their second dose.

As of December 1st, 80 per cent of Fort St. John residents received their first shot, and 72 per cent are now fully vaccinated.

During a COVID-19 update on Tuesday, Dix says, across the north, first dose immunizations are up to 89 per cent and 76.9 per cent for second doses.

“We’ve got work to do. Not just in the Peace River, but in the overall rate across Northern Health,” said Dix.

Health officials were asked why some areas in the north are still under health restrictions, even though rates have vastly improved.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says, “we are not out of the woods yet,” and recognized that areas with high rates are making a difference.

“We need to be cautious. And we need to be respectful of each other through this period of time so that we don’t see it take off again, in some of those communities,” said Henry.

Dix said Public Health and Northern Health base decisions on restrictions by looking at factors such as test positivity, hospitalizations, those in critical care and overall immunization rates.

Dix said the average test positivity in the north is around 12 per cent while the rest of the province, excluding the Northern Health region, is at three per cent.

Out of the 476 people in critical care in the province, 150 people have been transferred from Northern Health facilities to the southern half of the province. A total of 117 of the patients transferred from the north have tested positive with COVID-19.

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