Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin makes preparations at Toronto’s mass vaccination clinic, Jan. 17, 2021. Mass clinics are in operation across B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin makes preparations at Toronto’s mass vaccination clinic, Jan. 17, 2021. Mass clinics are in operation across B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

B.C. prepares for steep increase in COVID-19 vaccinations

Online appointment booking expected to start April 6

As B.C. public health officials subtract another year of age each day to ramp up COVID-19 mass vaccination, the groups admitted to the program get larger quickly.

As of Saturday, age 79 and up were eligible to call one of five regional health authority call centres, adding 30,630 people to the vaccination group. As of Monday, vaccination appointments open to B.C. residents age 78 and up, meaning another 34,254 are eligible to call for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment as of March 22.

Age 77 bookings open Tuesday, a group estimated to be 36,816. Age 76 on Thursday adds 38,117 and the age 75 group, opening Saturday March 27, represents 41,739. That’s a total of more than 181,000 people eligible this week, and the biggest groups, the back end of the post-war baby boom population age 60 and up, are still to come.

RELATED: Here’s how to book by age, and what information you need

The decision to open an age group each day is to smooth the flow of phone calls to centres that were briefly overwhelmed as community vaccinations opened for age 90 and up in early March. Fraser Health, with the largest population and highest coronavirus transmission rate, has the only working online booking system for appointments, but that changes in early April to prepare for the peak of B.C.’s largest mass vaccination.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and the vaccination team have targeted April 6 to begin taking online registration in Northern Health, Interior Health, Island Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions, in addition to the call centres. They expect to book more than 420,000 appointments for the age-based program by April 18.

The parallel program to target supplies of the more portable AstraZeneca vaccine to priority work groups is also ramping up quickly. Fraser Health received 22,500 doses to immunize people in 71 food processing plants, 48 farm and greenhouse operations and any industrial sites with outbreaks.

Northern Health’s 15,000 doses are mainly for five industrial projects using camps: Coastal GasLink, LNG Canada, B.C. Hydro’s Site C, the Trans Mountain twinning project and Rio Tinto Alcan’s Kemano T2 tunnel project.

Interior Health gets 6,500 doses for people in three industrial camps, 34 food processing sites and six farms or nurseries, while Island Health is assigned 1,000 doses for four large food production facilities.

Vancouver Coastal has 16,000 doses for 53 food processing facilities, six industrial sites with a history of COVID-19 clusters, five group staff housing sites at Whistler, and thousands of temporary foreign workers who arrive and go into isolation at hotels in Richmond.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising five years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Binche residents Doug Connors (left) with Ross Duncan and Paul Lewis were thrilled after a mission to rescue a moose stranded on Stuart Lake was successful Friday, April 2. (Photo submitted)
Daring moose rescue on Stuart Lake garners national attention

“I’m just saving an animal,” said Ross Duncan with Paul Lewis and Doug Connors

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The new 3,500 hectare conservancy in Tahltan territory is located next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (BC Parks Photo)
New conservancy protects sacred Tahltan land near Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Project is a collaboration between Skeena Resources, conservation groups and the TCG

Marcel Gagnon will be receiving an honorary degree this year from UNBC. (Photo submitted)
Lheidli T’enneh Nation elder to receive honorary degree from UNBC

Artist and advocate, Marcel Gagnon to be recognized June 25

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

Most Read