Younger seniors are now eligible to book vaccines at clinics on the North Shore.
People who are 65 this year or older (or who are born in 1956 or earlier) can now book vaccines online or by phone at clinics throughout the Vancouver Coastal Health region, including locations in North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Bowen Island and Lions Bay. Those booking online can do so by registering first through the province's Get Vaccinated portal. Most people who have registered through the online system report that it is working well. Those booking over the phone should call 1-833-838-2323 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Those who have received a letter deeming them clinically extremely vulnerable for medical reasons and Indigenous people 18 and older are also eligible to book.
The increased opening of age-based vaccinations comes at a time when COVID cases are surging in the Lower Mainland, including on the North Shore. In the week ending April 3, there were a record number of 316 cases reported in North and West Vancouver.
While those in their mid 60s are currently being booked for their shots, the province is also urging in those in younger age groups to start registering for the vaccine in advance.
"It's critical that people register, then they can book at the earliest possible moment," said Health Minister Adrian Dix on Monday. Advance registration helps the province plan for vaccine clinics, he said, adding the clinics might move down through the age groups faster in some communities than in others "because of the availability of clinics and vaccines."
B.C. is also running a parallel vaccination program for those aged 55-65 only, using the AstraZeneca vaccine which has been temporarily halted for people younger than 55. Those vaccines are being administered by pharmacies directly and people who qualify do not need to sign up for the age-based vaccination program to register with a pharmacy directly.
There are now over 25 pharmacies in North and West Vancouver offering the vaccine. Pharmacies in the Sea-to-Sky corridor, on Bowen Island and Sunshine Coast are also offering the vaccine, in addition to pharmacies throughout the Lower Mainland.
A list of pharmacies offering the vaccine and contact information can be found on the BC Pharmacy Association's website.
Over one million doses of the vaccine have now been administered in B.C., meaning almost 24 per cent of those eligible had been vaccinated as of Monday.