Vaccination clinics held at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, at farmer's markets and at agricultural fairs are examples of activities planned throughout BC to make it easier than ever for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Called Vax for BC, the campaign began this week and will run through the month of August. It will include community events, vax vans and mobile clinics in dozens of communities in the province to get more people vaccinated with their first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Registration and booking using the provincial Get Vaccinated system is still encouraged, however these events will allow eligible people to walk-in and receive a vaccine without a scheduled appointment.
Along with regional events, Vax for BC will also include the first province-wide Walk-in Wednesday. On Aug. 4, clinics throughout the province will reserve approximately 20,000 doses for walk-in vaccinations for anyone 12 years and older still needing their first dose or people eligible to receive their second dose.
“For those who have not yet been vaccinated, it is easier than ever to get your first or second dose," said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer. “Join the millions of people in our province who have taken this step, not just for themselves, but for their larger community."
Clinical staff at the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) encourage Indigenous people to take advantage of the province-wide campaign because vaccination uptake has been lower in the First Nations population (for which the FNHA has data*).
While just over 81 per cent of all eligible people in BC (everyone age 12 and older) have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, only 65 per cent of First Nations people have received dose one. The provincial rate of eligible people who have received their second dose is 62 per cent but the rate for First Nations people is only 48.7 per cent.
Data from the BC Centre of Disease Control (BCCDC) shows that less than five per cent of COVID-19 cases from June 15 to July 15 were among fully vaccinated people. In addition, during the same period, 78 per cent of people hospitalized in BC with COVID-19 were unvaccinated.
“Those who are not fully vaccinated can get very sick from COVID-19," said Dr. Shannon McDonald, the acting Chief Medical Officer of the FNHA. That's why it's so important that we make this a 'two-shot summer' for everyone who is eligible."
A full list of Vax for BC events happening throughout the province is available online: gov.bc.ca/vaxforbc
People will also be able to download a thank-you letter template from the website to express gratitude to pandemic heroes. British Columbians are encouraged to share written messages online, in their windows at home and in-person at vaccination locations.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccines, see the FNHA's vaccine web page.
First Nations people and their family members who want to speak to a doctor about vaccines or any other health topic may contact the First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day service if they don't have access to a primary health care provider.
*The First Nations numbers only include individuals living in BC who are status First Nations (living on or off reserve). They do not include non-status individuals.