British Columbia

Drive-thru clinics drive up lagging vaccine rates in B.C.'s northeast

Just 50 per cent of Peace region residents have received a shot so far, but number climbing.

Just 50 per cent of Peace region residents have received a shot so far, but number climbing

Trucks and other vehicles line up Saturday at a drive-thru vaccine clinic in Fort St. John, B.C. (Northern Health)

Health officials are hoping drive-thru vaccine clinics will help drive up vaccination rates in northeastern B.C.'s Peace River region, which is lagging behind other parts of the province in delivering shots to residents.

Just 50 per cent of eligible people living in the Peace River North and South local health areas have received their first COVID-19 shot, compared to a 75 per cent provincial average.

And the virus continues to spread. While other parts of northern B.C. have recorded zero school exposures in the month of June, there have been nine in the communities of Fort St. John and Chetwynd.

A new care home outbreak was also declared at Rotary Manor in Dawson Creek on June 11, claiming the life of one resident and infecting another.

However, Health Minister Adrian Dix said he is hopeful new infections will be contained as health officials roll out additional clinics in the region aimed at increasing vaccine uptake.

 

A drive-thru clinic set up at the North Peace hockey arena in Fort St. John this week attracted more than 1,300 people, helping boost overall vaccine rates to just over the fifty per cent mark — something Dix called "a significant milestone."

Liberal MLA Dan Davies, who represents Peace River North, said the new figures make him hopeful his region will soon catch up to the rest of the province in delivering vaccines.

"This is good news for all of us," he said. "Our rates are good, but we still have work to do."

A second drive-thru clinic is being set up in Dawson Creek, with additional pop-ups planned for rural communities around the Peace in the weeks ahead.

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