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‘Out of the blue’: Mayor surprised, excited seniors 60+ eligible for vaccine in Sicamous

Click to play video: 'Interior Health opens Okanagan vaccination clinics' Interior Health opens Okanagan vaccination clinics
Okanagan seniors are rolling up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine at Interior Health’s newly opened vaccination clinics – Mar 15, 2021

The mayor of Sicamous, B.C., said he was surprised but overjoyed to learn the small recreational community on Mara and Shuswap lakes will see all its seniors eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine this week.

The District of Sicamous, which dubs itself the houseboat capital of Canada, announced on its website Monday that all area residents over the age of 60 can receive the shot at an upcoming community clinic.

“Interior Health confirmed COVID-19 vaccinations will be administered in Sicamous March 24-26 and March 29-30 for individuals 60 or older. If you are 60 or older and a resident of the Sicamous, Malakwa or Swansea Point areas, please contact Interior Health at 1-877-740-7747 to schedule your appointment,” the public notice stated.

Read more: Coronavirus — Local Okanagan unions react to latest COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan

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“Please note that the phone recording will state only individuals 75 or older are eligible to book their vaccine appointment at this time. It has been advised to continue through the phone prompts until you can speak with a representative and confirm you are booking for the Sicamous Community Clinic, 60 plus.”

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Interior Health deploying vaccine to Big White – Mar 18, 2021

Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz said he doesn’t know why younger seniors have become eligible in his community when the current eligible age cohort is 78-plus provincially.

“I’m not sure why we were picked out of the mix but I’m really happy and excited about it,” he told Global News.

“We had no indication as to when we were going to get a rollout here, and all of a sudden out of the blue we’ve got this opportunity and it’s going to start Wednesday morning.”

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Read more: Coronavirus — Vaccination bookings for seniors to begin Monday, says Interior Health

Rysz did note there is a large senior population in Sicamous with minimal health resources available in town.

“The challenges that we have here in Sicamous with one doctor and every person here has to go out of town so now you’re trying to transport people in that age group and that’s not so easy to do,” Rysz said.

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‘It means a lot’: Penticton seniors share COVID-19 vaccine experiences – Mar 16, 2021

“I think for the amount of people that are going to get vaccinated, this is just going to benefit us big time. We won’t have to worry about transporting these people out of town. They will be able to get their shot right here and that saves us a whole lot of headaches.”

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Interior Health has not responded to a request for comment to explain why younger seniors in Sicamous are getting vaccine priority.

Read more: Kelowna care centre outbreak — Questions raised about staff vaccination rates

Elsewhere in B.C., seniors over the age of 78 are eligible to book their COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday. Younger seniors become eligible based on their birth year.

  • Seniors born in or before 1943 (78-plus) and Indigenous people born in or before 1966 (55-plus) may book from Monday, March 22 from 12:00 p.m. PDT.
  • Seniors born in or before 1944 (77-plus) may book from Tuesday, March 23 from 12:00 p.m. PDT.
  • Seniors born in or before 1945 (76-plus) may book from Thursday, March 25 from 12:00 p.m. PDT.
  • Seniors born in or before 1946 (75-plus) may book from Saturday, March 27 from 12:00 p.m. PDT.

To register, call 1-877-740-7747 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. PST, seven days a week.

More information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout can be found on Interior Health’s website. 

Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination drive is poised to shift into high gear this week as the federal public health agency prepares to take delivery of the largest number of doses since the launch of the immunization effort.

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Nearly 1.2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are set to arrive this week, alongside 846,000 shots of the product developed by Moderna.

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