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Rising vaccinations opened the door for B.C.’s COVID-19 restart. How much higher can rates go?

Click to play video: 'Dropping infection rates and rising vaccination rates open door for phase 2 reopening' Dropping infection rates and rising vaccination rates open door for phase 2 reopening
WATCH: One of the key reasons B.C. has been able to move into step two of its restart plan is vaccination rates. They have easily topped the threshold for easing restrictions and vaccine hesitancy is seeing a big drop. As Aaron McArthur reports, that means we are on target for phase three of the reopening in a just matter of weeks. – Jun 14, 2021

One of the key reasons B.C. has been able to move into Step 2 of its restart plan is vaccination rates.

In addition to declining COVID-19 case totals and hospitalization numbers, at least 65 per cent of adults had to have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine for the province to ease restrictions.

On Monday, the province reported that nearly 76 per cent of all adults had received their first dose.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: What could cause B.C. to step back in restart plan?' COVID-19: What could cause B.C. to step back in restart plan?
COVID-19: What could cause B.C. to step back in restart plan? – Jun 14, 2021

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday that officials hope the number of vaccinated British Columbians continues to rise.

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“Our target immunization rates are at least 85, 90 per cent — we would like to see it even higher,” Henry said.

“We’ve had that in certain age groups, in certain communities where we’ve had very high rates of immunization. So our target has always been to get people fully protected as much as we possibly can.”

A new survey suggests that vaccination rates have room to grow amid a dramatic drop in vaccine hesitancy.

According to an Insights West poll, the number of those who say they are certain they will not get vaccinated has decreased by about two-thirds in just eight weeks.

The survey found that in addition to the 75 per cent of British Columbians who have received a first dose, 10 per cent in B.C. say they are certain to get the vaccine, and five per cent say they are likely to get the vaccine.

Read more: Herd immunity: How it works and why it’s a lofty goal for COVID-19

Just five per cent said they are certain they will not be vaccinated while three per cent said it was unlikely. Two per cent said they were unsure.

“Those are much smaller numbers than what we’ve seen in the past and really encouraging when we talk about that ever-elusive number of herd immunity,” Steve Mossop of Insights West said.

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The survey also found that 92 per cent of those who had their first dose were satisfied with the experience. That includes 55 per cent who said they were “extremely” satisfied.

Mossop said one of the things they will be studying over the next month is the demand for second doses.

“I think the real concern is around that second-dose number,” he said.

“We’ve seen it in the USA — they’re a little bit ahead of us — and we’ve seen their numbers stall out because people are feeling like, ‘Hey, we’ve beaten the pandemic. The numbers are down. I feel safe. Nobody’s wearing masks anymore.’ So I think the level of complacency is something that we will continue to track.”

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