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.
Fraser Health has also dropped the age requirement to ages 30 and over for the 10 high-transmission neighbourhoods announced last month.
“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.
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.
“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.”
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.”
At some point on Thursday, Henry added, B.C. will reach the milestone of two million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered.