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People aged 30+ living in Summerland, Rutland eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

Interior Health has now opened up vaccinations to anybody 30 years of age or older if they live in Summerland, Golden or Kelowna's Rutland neighbourhood. Jules Knox / Global News

Interior Health announced Friday morning that residents who live in Summerland or Kelowna’s Rutland neighbourhood are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The health authority said those areas are currently considered high-transmission neighbourhoods.

People hoping to get the vaccine are being told to register, so they can be notified when they are eligible to receive their shot.

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Interior Health said when it comes to defining community boundaries, Summerland will be easier than Rutland because it’s “more defined.”

Rutland will be defined by postal codes.

The two Okanagan communities were listed by the province as being high-transmission neighbourhoods.

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“When we looked at the data, it looked like Rutland had one of the lowest immunization rates in the region,” said IHA chief medical health officer Dr. Albert de Villiers. “And then they also had one of the highest infection rates in the region.”

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De Villiers noted that Spring Valley long-term care centre, with 33 cases, is located in Rutland, “which is kind of connected to those numbers as well.”

“But there were higher numbers and lower immunization rates. So we thought when the province brought out the new (immunization) plan to make sure we’re consistent where we have higher rates of infections and lower rates of vaccine, let’s get in there.”

De Villiers also said IHA is still in the planning stages regarding Rutland’s vaccine rollout, but options include adding extra clinic appointments and shots of AstraZeneca at area pharmacies.

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“This is only for people over 30 anyway, and the AstraZeneca vaccine is for people over 30,” he said. “So if we can open it up to the pharmacies with AstraZeneca specifically, we can get people vaccinated that way as well.”

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