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

A Chilliwack Search and Rescue truck heads down Vedder Road towards Cultus Lake to assist a dirtbiker with a broken leg. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Emergency crews, SAR busy with three separate outdoor recreation incidents in Chilliwack area

Calls in 1 afternoon include ATV collision, parachuter who fell from tree, dirtbiker with broken leg

Philomusica Chorus and Ensemble released ‘All Good Gifts’ on YouTube on April 3, 2021. (YouTube)
Chilliwack chorus shares latest song with ‘same love, enthusiasm’ as pre-pandemic music

Philomusica Chorus and Ensemble recently released its version of ‘All Good Gifts’ on YouTube

Crews are on scene of a three-vehicle collision at Vedder and Knight roads in Chilliwack on Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
Three-vehicle collision in Chilliwack causes traffic backlog at busy intersection

Collision happened at intersection of Vedder and Knight

Chilliwack’s historic Royal Hotel is offering COVID-style wedding packages for two weeks in June. (Facebook/ Royal Hotel Chilliwack)
Chilliwack hotel offers pop-up, COVID-style weddings for 2 weeks this June

‘Weddings can still happen, albeit in a different fashion,’ says Laura Reid of Royal Hotel

Kay Campbell (left) and Linda Brawn with Chilliwack Senior Peer Counsellors said the organization is in need of more volunteers to chat with seniors. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Volunteers like ‘lifeline’ for lonely seniors, says Chilliwack Senior Peer Counsellors

National Volunteer Week: People encouraged to volunteer time in form of weekly phone chats with elderly

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

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

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read