FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Northern Health says long wait times for vaccinations at the Fort St. John Health unit are due to staffing issues brought on by the extreme cold in the region.

The clinics are short-staffed because staff could not make it to the clinic. So that will mean that given that they are drop-in clinics at this time, some people might need to wait a little longer than usual,” said Eryn Collins, a spokesperson for Northern Health.

Collins says Northern Health is looking at a few options to decrease these wait times, such as increasing capacity and offering booked appointments.

“We don’t want anyone overly uncomfortable, standing outside in the freezing cold temperatures, but we also can’t control the weather,” Collins said.

Currently, the only way for residents to get an appointment is by booking one at a pharmacy offering vaccines.

Collins says Northern Health will continue to add additional clinic opportunity information to their website, which includes extended clinic hours or additional clinic locations, however, this will vary on a community by community basis.

She says it’s not currently possible for residents to call the health unit ahead of time to inquire about wait times.

As of December 31st, everyone over the age of 18 who had their second dose of the vaccine at least six months previous was invited to get their third booster. Collins says that invites don’t necessarily go by age.

“If the individual was in a group that was eligible, for whatever reason, earlier in the dose one and dose two process, then they may be younger, but they may actually be further out from their second dose than someone who is exactly at six months from their last dose of an older age,” Collins explained

For clinic dates and times in the Northern Health region, click here.