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Coronavirus: Interior Health ready for phase two of COVID-19 vaccination rollout

Click to play video: 'Seniors eligible for COVID-19 vaccine can book an appointment as early as next week as phase two of the vaccine rollout in B.C. begins' Seniors eligible for COVID-19 vaccine can book an appointment as early as next week as phase two of the vaccine rollout in B.C. begins
Seniors eligible for COVID-19 vaccine can book an appointment as early as next week as phase two of the vaccine rollout in B.C. begins – Mar 1, 2021

British Columbia has officially shifted into phase two of its vaccination rollout.

“Through March and April, we plan on immunizing another 400,000 people,” B.C. Premier Horgan announced Monday morning.

Phase two includes seniors, 80 years and older, and high-risk people residing in independent living and senior’s supportive housing, including staff.

Booking appointments for phase two will commence on March 8.

Read more: Optimism for ‘normal’ summer as B.C. enters phase 2 of vaccine rollout

But with 175,000 British Columbians aged 80 and older, public health officials have broken down that demographic further based on specific age in order not to overwhelm booking call centres.

Those over 90 years of age, or born in or before 1931, and Indigenous people over 65, or born in or before 1956, will be able to call and book an appointment starting March 8 with immunizations taking place the following week

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Seniors over 85, or born in or before 1936 can call and book starting March 15 and on March 22, lines will open for those 80 and older.

“We will reach everyone,” said Dr. Penny Ballem, B.C.’s immunization response team coordinator.

“If they miss their eligible call date, it’s no problem. Once they’re eligible they can call anytime after that and we want everyone to understand that they don’t have to rush to be the first caller.

“They will get their vaccine.”

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Health authorities will be tasked with determining what clinics will be utilized for the vaccines, likely at pre-existing health facilities.

Health regions will also be tasked with setting up phone numbers for people to call and book appointments.

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The Interior Health Authority (IHA) already has information up on its website as well as contact information.

Click here to access it.

Public health officials urge people not to call before their eligible time slots as they will be asked to call back.

If a senior is not able to call themselves, they can ask a family member, friend or someone on their behalf to call instead.

Those booking appointments will need to provide their legal name, date of birth, their personal health number and contact information where they can receive a message, whether that would be a phone number of E-mail address.

Read more: All approved COVID-19 vaccines effective at preventing hospitalization and death, experts say

Public health officials are emphasizing that no other information will be required.

“We have had some instances of ‘phishing’ already,” Ballem said.

“Health authority call centres will never ask for your social insurance number, your drivers licence and your banking information, your credit card…that will not happen and if our seniors find themselves on a phone call or people asking them that, they’re on the wrong phone call.”

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