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B.C. opens vaccine program to all 18+ as hesitancy declines

Last Updated May 17, 2021 at 7:18 am PDT

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Summary

British Columbians who want a COVID-19 vaccine are being reminded to register in order to receive an invite

Public health restrictions remain in place as B.C. continues to administer COVID vaccines, with all adults now eligible

Increased immunity as well as decreasing transmission rates will be key to the province's reopening plan

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The light at the end of the pandemic tunnel is getting closer, with all British Columbians 18 years of age and older now eligible to book an appointment to get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Invitations began going out to adults 18+ Sunday night. British Columbians who want to get vaccinated are being reminded to register in order to receive an invite.

This comes as Canada continues to receive shipments of vaccines, with deliveries in the millions expected to continue arriving into the coming months.

It also comes as B.C.’s curve continues to bend in the right direction, with case numbers and hospitalizations seeing declines in recent weeks. The province on Friday recorded its lowest daily case count since mid-March.

However, public health restrictions remain in place. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday that B.C. won’t start easing up on restrictions until after the May-long weekend, and even then, she said change would be gradual.

Increased immunity as well as decreasing transmission rates will be key to the province’s reopening plan.

There’s also positive news on the vaccine hesitancy front, with a recent survey finding numbers trending down. The Angus Reid Institute says of British Columbians polled, 11 per cent either haven’t yet decided if they’ll get the shot, or don’t want one at all. That’s down from 24 per cent who said the same in January.

(Courtesy Angus Reid Institute)

It also found that, despite recent concerns around the AstraZeneca vaccine, 48 per cent of people who’ve received at least one dose of it are “totally pleased” and have “zero regrets or second thoughts.”

Forty-four per cent of people who received at least one AstraZeneca shot say they would have preferred to get Pfizer or Moderna, but that “what’s done is done.”

The Angus Reid Institute has also found that unvaccinated men who want a vaccine are more likely than their female counterparts to say they’d be comfortable receiving an AstraZeneca shot.

Many provinces, including B.C., have opted to reserve AstraZeneca vaccines for second doses only, citing supply concerns as their reasons.

Ontario has chosen to suspend use of the drugmaker’s shot over blood clotting concerns.

Vaccine clinics in Surrey

Meanwhile, in Surrey, 4,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines are set to be administered over four days at community clinics starting Monday. The province announced on Sunday it would be partnering with Fraser Health and the city to offer these clinics, adding measures will be in place to prevent confusion and long waits encountered last time Fraser Health held pop-up clinics.

The dates and locations are:

Monday, May 17
Bear Creek Park, 13750 88 Ave.
Hours: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. (or until 1,000 vaccine doses are administered)

Tuesday, May 18:
Bear Creek Park, 13750 88 Ave.
Hours: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. (or until 1,000 vaccine doses are administered)

Saturday, May 22:
Surrey Sport and Leisure, 16555 Fraser Highway, #100
Hours: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. (or until 1,000 vaccine doses are administered)

Sunday, May 23:
Surrey Sport and Leisure, 16555 Fraser Highway, #100
Hours: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. (or until 1,000 vaccine doses are administered)

Addresses will be verified so people who live in Surrey are prioritized, and a first-come-first-served system will be in place to prevent long waits.