Island Health has revealed its plans for scaling back its current COVID-19 mass immunization clinics as the vaccination strategy shifts heading into the fall.
Over the past eight months, Island Health has set up mass clinics with the aim of immunizing as many people as possible, however, the health authority is planning to shut down many of the mass centres and make vaccinations available at nearby local walk-in clinics instead.
Island Health says that anyone in need of vaccination will simply be able to find a nearby clinic and walk in without an appointment for both their first or second dose. Options will also be available for people who prefer setting up an appointment or need extra time or accommodation during their immunization.
The health authority says that as of Aug. 19, 81 per cent of eligible residents in Island Health have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 74 per cent have been fully vaccinated.
“The COVID-19 immunization effort in Island Health and across the province has been a monumental undertaking,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health’s Chief Medical Health Officer. “Thanks to the exceptional dedication of Island Health staff and physicians, the unwavering support of community partners and, most importantly, each individual’s commitment to protecting themselves and others from infection, we can start looking beyond the mass immunization effort.”
The health authority points out that as the numbers of fully vaccinated people increase, there is less need to maintain the high-volume mass immunization clinics.
“There is absolutely no doubt that vaccination is protecting people from serious illness,” said Dr. Stanwick. “While we’re seeing excellent progress with vaccination rates, there is still work to be done. Please, if you haven’t received your first dose, or if you have been delaying your second dose, now is the time to get it done and ensure we go into the fall with the best possible protection against COVID-19.”
There are currently mass immunization clinics operating in communities from Victoria to Campbell River that will close between Aug. 22 and Sept. 30.
Beyond the mass immunization closure dates, anyone in need of first and second doses will be able to receive their vaccine at other, smaller locations.
The dates, details and upcoming changes scheduled for immunization clinics can be found online here.