A COVID-19 vaccine clinic will be held this weekend at Big White Ski Resort.
The clinic will run Saturday and Sunday and is aimed at those living in non-family congregate housing.
According to Interior Health, the AstraZeneca vaccine doses are set to expire in early April, thus the sudden clinic at Big White – site of an outbreak that began in December.
The cluster is said to be currently stable at 237 cases. For more about the clinic, visit the Big White resort website.
In an email to Global News, Interior Health said the AstraZeneca vaccine shipment to B.C. “creates a parallel immunization campaign where each health authority is directed to deploy that vaccine to workplaces that have been identified as high risk, or congregate living where adhering to public health guidance is difficult.”
It added that “through this effort, we can confirm Big White is among the settings where that initial supply of AstraZeneca will be deployed.”
“Our team that’s on site at Big White will be cross-checking with every individual that presents themselves for an immunization against the criteria that we have established,” added Karen Bloemink, vice-president of pandemic response for Interior Health.
Interior Health noted that Big White is the only Interior ski resort with a vaccine rollout.
Chief medical health officer Dr. Albert de Villiers said there are currently no other ski hills with outbreaks, clusters or extra cases, though he added “it’s a quickly changing environment, so, by next week, we might have different news.”
De Villiers noted that outbreaks throughout the region are becoming less, beyond outbreaks at Cottonwoods Care Centre (23 cases; 3 staff, 20 patients) and a unit at Kelowna General Hospital (6 cases; 3 staff, 3 patients, 1 death linked to the outbreak).
Interior Health added that it will receive around 7,000 doses of vaccine and that it’s identifying high-risk worksites where it can administer the soon-to-expire doses.
De Villiers said they are vaccinating Big White because “there’s been cases there over the last few months, so we wanted to make sure we can actually stop that.”
He also said “we are also focusing specifically on people living in congregate housing. It’s not everybody on the hill, it’s not everybody at Big White. It’s people living in congregate housing, living in crowded conditions.
“We want to make sure we can actually protect them and make it safe for the public, by extension, to go up there.”View link »