Island Health vaccination clinics to be closed Christmas, Boxing Day

Island Health vaccination clinics to be closed Christmas, Boxing Day
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Island Health has announced that all vaccination clinics within the health authority will be closed on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

The health authority, which has been overwhelmed by a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, will be giving healthcare staff and volunteers at vaccination clinics a much-needed break over the holidays.

Island Health says that since early last week, it has been actively working to increase staff — particularly in the testing call centre — and implementing overtime hours to meet the demand amid the latest COVID-19 wave.

With the recent surge, there has been a growing demand from British Columbians to receive their booster shots and the program on Vancouver Island is expanding.

The health authority says it will be opening more clinics in the new year, including reopening the Archie Browning Sports Centre in Esquimalt as a vaccine clinic to assist with the administration of booster shots.

Over the next two days, however, all vaccine clinics will be shut down so Vancouver Islanders eligible for their booster shot will need to wait until at least December 27.

Island Health is advising residents to check their local clinic hours and dates of operation before heading to one in order to stay up-to-date on any additional closures or changes to hours of operation.

While vaccination clinics will be closed over the holidays, Island Health has announced that COVID-19 testing centres will remain open on both December 25 and December 26 in order to help with the recent spike in demand.

In the past several days, Island Health says that the number of people seeking COVID-19 tests on Vancouver Island is skyrocketing amid the recent rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

According to officials, a typical weekend would see testing approximately 600 calls per day of people looking to get tested, however, this past weekend (Dec 17-19), the Vancouver Island-based call centre received approximately 2,000 calls per day.

Over the course of this week, that number has grown to about 2,400 calls each day, Island Health tells CHEK News.

With the spike in calls and demand for tests, Island Health has opted to keep sites open on December 25 to help alleviate the backlog.

Island Health says that officials are working to add more staff and testing capacity over the holidays and moving on into the new year in order to handle the increased demand for tests, although people are cautioned they can still expect a wait.


Graham CoxGraham Cox

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