Vaccine registration moved ahead for 80+ group

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British Columbia is making better than expected progress on booking vaccination appointments for older cohorts, and is processing dates for residents aged 80 and older this week.

People who were born in 1936 or earlier were moved ahead on the schedule to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments starting on March 12. Over the weekend, the province announced a daily call centre schedule for the next five years in age.

The program set for this week had people aged 83+ (born in 1938 or later) able to access the call centre today, Tuesday, March 16. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the centre opens for people ages 82+, 81+ and 80+ respectively.

“To help manage the flow of calls throughout the week, we are asking eligible seniors or those assisting them to call only when they are scheduled to do so,” states a notification from the provincial government released Sunday.

The Island Health call centre number is 1-833-348-4787.

Salt Spring vaccinations for the oldest cohorts were scheduled to take place at the public health unit office at 160 Fulford-Ganges Rd. in Ganges from March 15 to April 15. Some islanders who were booking appointments on behalf of older relatives when the call centre first opened received the wrong information from call centre employees, however, and were given dates either later in the timeline or in other communities.

Island Health media relations director Dominic Abassi said the organization had been exploring multiple sites as possible clinics, and some call centre employees did not have the right information in front of them when phone lines opened last Monday. That problem was quickly rectified and the vast majority of individuals calling from Salt Spring were booked into the correct time slot and location, Abassi said.

“If you or someone you are supporting who is currently eligible was not booked into the Salt Spring Island Health Unit to receive their vaccine, please call our call centre at 1-833-348-4787, reference your issue, and a call centre agent will work to rebook your appointment at the correct clinic for the earliest date available,” Abassi said. “We sincerely apologize for this error and any inconvenience it has caused.”

Health authorities will take a whole community approach to immunization in communities that have under 4,000 residents and have challenges with accessibility, The entire adult population of those locations will have the opportunity to be vaccinated during one or two health authority visits. Galiano, Mayne, the Penders and Saturna islands have been identified for this program, with more information coming soon about April clinic dates and locations.

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