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COVID-19: Kelowna, B.C.’s main vaccine clinic closes, smaller one to open but delayed

Click to play video: 'According to  Interior Health, there’s been an uptake in people getting their first dose of vaccine since vaccine card announcement was made' According to Interior Health, there’s been an uptake in people getting their first dose of vaccine since vaccine card announcement was made
According to Interior Health, there’s been an uptake in people getting their first dose of vaccine since vaccine card announcement was made – Sep 9, 2021

Back in March, Kelowna’s Trinity church on Springfield Road was transformed into a massive vaccine clinic.

Since then, thousands of Central Okanagan residents have been immunized there against COVID-19.

“It’s just slightly under 200,000 doses that were administered, so 198,867 doses were administered at that site,” said Deborah Preston, director of primary care for Central Okanagan for the Interior Health Authority (IHA).

But after more than half a year, the vaccine clinic closed on Tuesday and will be relocated to a smaller venue.

“The days of needing space for 2,500 people a day, we just don’t need that,” Preston told Global News.

Read more: COVID-19 vaccines to be available at Okanagan schools

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The new vaccine clinic is being relocated to the Capri Centre, next to what used to be the Winners store.

It was slated to open Thursday but that opening has been delayed by several days until Tuesday.

“It wasn’t quite ready,” Preston said. “Some things we wanted on the window, and then some storage things, a little bit extra cleaning to be done.”

IHA is offering a number of pop-up clinics to accommodate people during the delay at its current testing site on Ethel Street as well as the Farmers’ Market in Kelowna on Saturday.

It’s also expanding its immunization hours at the Westbank Lions Community Hall in West Kelowna.

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Health Minister Adrian Dix holds impromptu news conference – Sep 9, 2021

While weekly data shows COVID case counts are starting to come down in the Central Okanagan, the region is still seeing the highest share province-wide.

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According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC), there were 478 cases of the virus in the region the week of Aug. 29 to Sept. 4., only a 6.5-per cent drop from the week before.

Vernon saw a 35-per cent decrease in cases that week from the week before, with 169 cases and Penticton remained unchanged with 69 new cases both weeks.

With a vaccine card set to go into effect on Sept. 13, requiring people to show proof of vaccination for accessing non-essential services such as restaurants, IHA said it has noticed an uptick in the number of people getting their first shot.

Read more: B.C.’s hospitality industry concerned about anger over COVID-19 vaccine cards

“We have seen an impact in terms of people wanting to access the dose one,” said Preston. “Particularly with the younger population, we’re seeing an increase.”

According to IHA, numbers for the first dose doubled across the region from the week before the announcement was made, particularly among those under the age of 55.

According to the BC CDC, in Kelowna, roughly 84 per cent have received their first dose of vaccine while 76 per cent are fully vaccinated.

In Penticton, 83 per cent have one shot while 76 have both. In Vernon, 78 per cent of residents have had one jab with 70 per cent being fully vaccinated.

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Enforcement concerns grow ahead of next week’s B.C. vaccination card rollout – Sep 8, 2021

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