The Interior Health Authority (IH) on Tuesday, Dec. 29, said its rural health teams will be rolling out COVID-19 vaccinations to prioritized demographics across the West Boundary as soon as a transportable vaccine arrives in B.C.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is currently available within the health region in Kelowna and Kamloops hospitals equipped to store the large quantities of the vaccine in deep refrigeration. The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has started distributing the newer Moderna vaccine, which remains effective outside deep refrigeration for longer periods, according to an IH spokesperson.
Rural health teams in the West Boundary will set about immunizing patients within prioritized demographics over the next four weeks, starting with “long-term care and assisted-living” residents and staff; hospital patients awaiting long-term placement; health care workers caring for patients infected or who may have been exposed to COVID-19; and isolated First Nations Communities.
Vaccines will be made available to widening groups as Moderna stocks increase. IH said it would roll out the vaccine as early as February to advanced seniors (80 years old and above) and Indigenous elders (65 and above) and other vulnerable groups, including people experiencing homelessness and provincial prisoners.
The BCCDC’s website said the province intends to make COVID-19 vaccines available to all British Columbians approved for the vaccine and who want to be vaccinated by the end of 2021.