Langford arena slated for use as mass COVID-19 vaccination site

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WATCH: While a winter storm in the eastern U.S. interrupts shipments of COVID1-19 vaccines to Canada, one B.C. Expert says there are more challenges for the mass vaccination program still ahead. Aaron McArthur reports. – Feb 16, 2021

Residents of Langford, B.C., are getting a clearer picture of where they’ll be vaccinated when the general public starts getting its COVID-19 shots.

The arena at the city’s Eagle Ridge Community Centre has begun clearing its schedule and preparing to serve as a mass vaccination site, which will operate until the end of August.

Read more: More COVID-19 vaccine is coming to B.C., but questions remain about logistics

“We want to — when the vaccine comes — to be able to get them into people’s arms as fast as we can, and just be a supporter,” Langford Mayor Stewart Young told Global News.

“Our community has really been challenged with COVID, and we’re working hard to keep business as usual, so this is just to give everybody some hope that, hey, the vaccination centre is there and when the vaccine comes they’re going to get it.”

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Island Health would not comment directly on the Langford vaccine site, but said in a statement it was, “working closely with our community partners across the Island Health region to identify and coordinate appropriate locations for these clinics.”

Read more: B.C. prioritizing age and vulnerable people over non-medical essential workers in mass COVID-19 immunization plan

The province is slated to vaccinate people over the age of 80 along with key vulnerable populations in the coming weeks.

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Starting in April, it will begin administering vaccines more widely through an age-based cohort system, with the goal of immunizing 4.3 million people by September.

Vaccine delivery is expected to ramp up in the coming weeks, as Pfizer resumes full shipments to Canada after a month-long delay.

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Health Minister Adrian Dix said Tuesday that if vaccine shipments arrived as scheduled over the next six weeks, B.C. could have 10 per cent of its population immunized by April 1.

— With files from Kylie Stanton