There is a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, with British Columbia moving into phase 4 of the provincial vaccination schedule.
All adults in B.C. are now eligible to book vaccine appointments as of May 16, and according to provincial health authorities, the supply of vaccine to B.C. is flowing strong, with 4.5 million doses of vaccine to enter Canada this week.
Dr. Tara Chalmers-Nixon of the Medical Staff Association at the Elk Valley Hospital said the local vaccine clinics across the Elk Valley were hard at work.
“We have a large vaccine supply (and) we’ve opened up all these spots, so we’ll be able to book at least 340 spots a day in all three sites (across the Elk Valley).
“Everybody will get their turn in very short order.”
For now, the primary vaccine being delivered to the Elk Valley is Pfizer-BioNTech, as well as the Moderna vaccine. Both vaccines require two doses to be fully effective.
Dr. Chalmers-Nixon said that a large percentage of the Elk Valley had registered to get a shot, meaning that there were plenty of vaccine doses being delivered as a result.
“Because everyone has signed up and registered and is waiting their turn, we are guaranteed enough doses to fill all the appointments that are booked.”
She said that as a front-line worker throughout the pandemic, it was a relief that so many were lining up to get their shots.
“People are booked, people are going to get their first shot – so we can start to say our summer might be a normal summer.”
Because the vaccines currently being delivered require two doses, there will be a wait before we know that the 2021 summer can be a safe one though – but the vaccine supply was promising.
“If everyone in the Elk Valley can be vaccinated by the end of June, then everyone could be fully vaccinated by October. Those in-between times will be some version of normal that’s safe.”
What that ‘normal’ looks like is yet to be seen, with provincial health authorities to determine how they let off on the brakes when it comes to gatherings and socialization.
Dr. Chalmers-Nixon pointed out however that the vaccination schedule in neighbouring Alberta was sadly behind B.C. – meaning the East Kootenay, and the Elk Valley continues to be at risk, so more locals being vaccinated was all the more important.
“We have to keep in mind that Alberta is way behind BC right now. Our neighbours who want to come here and who have homes here – we have to keep them safe as well.”
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