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Fraser Health adds nine high-transmission neighbourhoods to vaccine priority list

Click to play video: 'New measures announced to tackle COVID-19 hot spots in Fraser Health region' New measures announced to tackle COVID-19 hot spots in Fraser Health region
It has been one of B.C.'s COVID hot-spots since the start of the pandemic and now, new measures have been announced to help bring down the numbers in Fraser Health. As Aaron McArthur reports, they include dropping the age restriction for vaccinations in targeted neighbourhoods and pop-up kiosks to encourage people to register for shots. – May 6, 2021

British Columbia’s hardest-hit health authority is adding additional hot spots to its COVID-19 immunization plan.

As part of the province’s strategy to vaccinate people in high-transmission neighbourhoods, Fraser Health is now immunizing people ages 30 and over (born in 1991 or earlier) in Surrey (Guildford, Cloverdale), Abbotsford (Central, East and Rural), Langley (Willoughby), Burnaby (Southeast, Southwest) and South Mission.

This is in addition to the already announced hot spots in Surrey (West Newton, East Newton, Whalley, Panorama, North Surrey, Fleetwood), North Delta, Port Coquitlam, South Langley township and West Abbotsford.

Click to play video: 'Should Surrey be treated as a COVID-19 hotspot and open up vaccine to all age groups?' Should Surrey be treated as a COVID-19 hotspot and open up vaccine to all age groups?
Should Surrey be treated as a COVID-19 hotspot and open up vaccine to all age groups? – May 6, 2021

Fraser Health has also dropped the age requirement to ages 30 and over for the 10 high-transmission neighbourhoods announced last month.

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Read more: People 40+ in B.C. can book AstraZeneca vaccine as province sets up hotspot clinics

“We are continuing with immunizing priority groups and locations where we are seeing outbreaks and clusters. By providing vaccine to these specific neighbourhoods, we can protect more people and help prevent COVID-19 transmission in our communities,” a news release Thursday said.

Eligible people who live in these neighborhoods can register now on the Get Vaccinated website.

Click to play video: 'Fraser Health stops offering vaccines through pop-up clinics' Fraser Health stops offering vaccines through pop-up clinics
Fraser Health stops offering vaccines through pop-up clinics – Apr 30, 2021

 

Health officials have been asked whether they will be mass-vaccinating Surrey, being one of the areas with the highest spread of COVID-19 cases, but have said they’ll continue with the hot-spot program.

“We’ll continue to look at those high-risk (Community Health Service Areas) across the province — so not just in Surrey, although a large number of them are here — but what we have learned, of course, is that it’s a very different thing to target a community with hundreds of thousands of people versus a community with a few thousand people,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a news conference Thursday.

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“So we need to use different strategies to make sure that people are able to get into the clinics in an efficient way and I know Fraser Health is doing a good job at that — an amazing job of that.”

Click to play video: 'Lower Mainland grocery store workers now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine' Lower Mainland grocery store workers now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine
Lower Mainland grocery store workers now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine – May 6, 2021

On Thursday, Fraser Health launched kiosks and mobile units to help get people registered. With the new priority list, some people may get a same-day appointments.

“The key to it, the absolute key to it, is to register, and when invited to book, to book, and I really want to emphasize that in particular here in Surrey,” Dix said.

“Across the province, we’ve seen a significant uptake in the last few days in registration, but I really encourage people to register and when they get a chance to book, book right away because we are going to be moving through the age cohorts very quickly, particularly in hot-spot areas.”

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At some point on Thursday, Henry added, B.C. will reach the milestone of two million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered.

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