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B.C. focusing clinics and outreach on regions with low COVID-19 vaccination rates

Click to play video: 'Vaccination rate gaps in some B.C. communities.' Vaccination rate gaps in some B.C. communities.
While B.C. Is now running ahead of its COVID-19 vaccinations targets, there are a handful of communities lagging behind. Richard Zussman reports – Jun 2, 2021

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the province is setting up special vaccination clinics in areas with lower rates of COVID-19 immunization in a bid to get as many people inoculated as possible.

One area the BC Centre for Disease Control will be sending nurses to is Fort St. John in the Peace River North region, which has one of the lowest rates of vaccination in B.C. Currently, 44 per cent of those aged 18 years and up are immunized.

Click to play video: 'B.C. government plans to boost COVID-19 vaccination levels in low-response areas' B.C. government plans to boost COVID-19 vaccination levels in low-response areas
B.C. government plans to boost COVID-19 vaccination levels in low-response areas – Jun 2, 2021

The province is also providing additional vaccination support to Rutland, north of Kelowna.

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The community has held two pop-up clinics already in the last eight days, and has a clinic at Rutland Secondary School, aimed at teenagers, scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

“We are focusing on some of the areas where we are a little lower and we are focusing on lower rates,” Dix said. “We have just got to keep pushing.”

Read more: COVID-19: Adults 18+ in Summerland, Rutland eligible for vaccine

As of Thursday, more than 71 per cent of adults in B.C. had received at least one vaccine dose.

About 88 per cent of people aged 70 or older have had at least one dose so far, as have 81 per cent of people aged 60-69, and 75 per cent of people in their fifties.

The province has had an aged-based vaccination approach, meaning older age groups have had more time to book and receive their shots.

Click to play video: 'Could American-style incentives help boost B.C. vaccine rates?' Could American-style incentives help boost B.C. vaccine rates?
Could American-style incentives help boost B.C. vaccine rates? – Jun 2, 2021

It slows down for those in their forties, with a first-shot immunization rate of 70 per cent.

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“It’s not age we are focused on. It’s making sure we get to communities,” Dix said.

In Metro Vancouver, parts of the Fraser Valley and Richmond continue to be well behind provincial averages.

Central Abbotsford has a first-shot rate of 64 per cent and North Chilliwack is 60 per cent, while in Richmond City Centre, it’s only 59 per cent of people 18 and up.

Read more: COVID-19: B.C. moves to 8-week gap for second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine dose

The government has been counting on MLAs and, in Richmond’s case, city hall to help get more vaccine into arms.

“We are seeing tremendous growth in Richmond. The one community health service area that was lagging in Richmond, which was Richmond City Centre, has really come up in the last number of days,” Dix said.

“And we expect it to continue to based on the number of people registered.”

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