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British Columbia to begin largest mass vaccination in provincial history on Monday

Click to play video: 'B.C. set to begin largest mass vaccination in provincial history' B.C. set to begin largest mass vaccination in provincial history
On Monday, B.C. will begin giving the first shots in the largest mass vaccination in provincial history. Seniors over the age of 85 who have already booked a vaccine will be heading to community centres, arenas, neighbourhood houses and other facilities where they will most likely get a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Grace Ke reports – Mar 14, 2021

Ann-Marie Copping can’t wait for 9 a.m. on Monday.

That’s when her parents, Mary-Jo, 85, and Frank, 93, will be among the first of B.C.’s seniors to get a COVID-19 vaccine outside of a long-term care setting.

“It is such a relief to get them vaccinated … you worry, you hear about all the deaths, everywhere have been people like my parents,” Copping said.

Read more: What you need to know as B.C. opens COVID-19 vaccine bookings for people over 90 on Monday

Copping hasn’t hugged her parents in a full year, and essentially hasn’t seen them in person in four months — since the province issued an order banning social gatherings of any kind.

Click to play video: 'Prince Rupert mass COVID-19 immunizations' Prince Rupert mass COVID-19 immunizations
Prince Rupert mass COVID-19 immunizations – Mar 14, 2021

“It was early November when we were told not to get together with people in our bubble and stay away, so we really have stayed apart since then,” she said.

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On Monday, B.C. will begin giving the first shots in the largest mass vaccination in provincial history.

Seniors over the age of 85 who have already booked a vaccine will be heading to community centres, arenas, neighbourhood houses and other facilities where they will most likely get a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Read more: Why is B.C. on its 1st age group when Alberta is opening vaccination to anyone 65+?

Indigenous seniors over the age of 65 will also begin getting vaccinated.

And in some smaller, rural communities, vaccines will be administered to people younger than 85. If you’re unsure if this applies to you, you can find details from your local health authority.

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One community that will be operating outside of B.C.’s age-based timeline is Prince Rupert and Port Edward, where the province will begin immunizing all adults in a bid to stop persistent clusters of the virus.

Those eligible can dial a dedicated phone line and appointments will be assigned based on age, with vaccinations for the city’s oldest residents starting March 15 and clinics for those aged 18 to 39 beginning March 29.

Click to play video: 'Prince Rupert fast tracks vaccine rollout' Prince Rupert fast tracks vaccine rollout
Prince Rupert fast tracks vaccine rollout – Mar 11, 2021

In Vancouver Coastal Health, where teams will operate 25 clinics, VCH interim vice-president for the Vancouver community Bob Chapman encouraged people to step in and help seniors get their shots.

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“If you have someone that you know who’s coming for an appointment who might need assistance, please help them get there, perhaps drop them off, make it as positive an experience as you can,” he said.

“Please reach out to the seniors in your neighborhood and make sure they have that support, ask them if they’ve been able to make their appointments and if they have, please help them get there.”

Read more: Debate over ‘vaccine passports’ heats up in B.C. business community

People are being urged not to show up early for their appointment to assure physical distancing, and are being reminded to bring photo ID and to wear a shirt with a sleeve they can roll up.

Clinics will be staffed by greeters and equipped with chairs for people to sit down while waiting.

After seniors get their shot, they’ll be asked to sit down for about 15 minutes for monitoring before going on their way.

Late Sunday, the province also announced it was moving up vaccine registration for seniors in the 80- to 85-year-old category, a group encompassing about 105,000 people.

This week, the following age groups will be able to phone and register for a vaccine (if their specific region has not already opened it):

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  • Noon, Monday — age 84 and over
  • Tuesday — age 83 and over
  • Wednesday — age 82 and over
  • Thursday — age 81 and over
  • Friday — age 80 and over

You can find out more information about vaccine clinics and locations for B.C.’s five health authorities below.

Vancouver Coastal Health (25 clinic locations)

Indigenous seniors over 65, seniors over 85 who live in Richmond, Vancouver North Vancouver or West Vancouver and seniors over 80 who live in the Sunshine Coast, Powell River, Whistler, Squamish, Pemberton or Bowen Island are eligible.

Appointments can be booked by calling 1-877-587-5767.

You can see clinic locations here.

Fraser Health (22 clinic locations)

Indigenous seniors over the age of 65 and seniors over the age of 85 are eligible.

You can book online here, or call 1-855-755-2455.

You can see a list of clinic locations here.

Interior Health (47 clinic locations)

Indigenous seniors over the age of 65 and seniors over the age of 85 are eligible.

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Appointments can be made by calling 1-877-740-7747.

You can see a full list of clinic locations here.

Island Health (19 clinic locations plus 30 ‘whole community’ remote clinics)

Indigenous seniors over the age of 65 and seniors over the age of 85 are eligible. Island Health is also immunizing the entire population of a number of small or remote communities in the coming weeks. Seniors over 80 who live in one of those communities are eligible to be vaccinated before April 12 if the “whole community” clinic does not happen before then.

Appointments can be made by calling 1-833-348-4787.

You can view a complete list of clinic locations here.

Northern Health (30 clinic locations)

Indigenous seniors 65 and older and seniors aged 80 and older are eligible.

Additionally, some smaller, remote, or hard-hit communities have differing age eligibility.

You can see the details for your individual community here.

Appointments can be made by calling 1-844-255-7555.

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