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COVID-19 vaccination begins in Burns Lake

Senior population, health care workers and First Nations among the first to get the vaccine

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in Burns Lake and the first doses have already been administered.

“The initial doses received and administered in Burns Lake and area are Pfizer; going forward, it will depend on the types and amounts of vaccine that we receive,” said Eryn Collins, the Northern Health spokesperson, in an email to Lakes District News.

The vaccine has already been administered to The Pines long-term care facility. Mary George received the first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Tammy Williams, the chief of staff for Lakes District Health Center was the second recipient of the vaccine. Eleven other long-term care residents were vaccinated on Dec. 12, with the remaining residents being vaccinated today.

According to a news release issued by Northern Health, the first rounds of immunizations would be for the Lakes District area which would include long-term care and assisted living residents, direct care staff, essential visitors, eligible health care workers in Burns Lake, Granisle and Southside, rural and First Nations communities and all the resident over the age of 80 living in Burns Lake, Granisle and on the Southside.

These categories have been defined based on the phase one priority groups of B.C.’s vaccination strategy, developed through recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and focuses on protecting those most vulnerable to severe illness first and First Nations communities.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief Corrina Leween, was one of the many to receive Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Southside Health and Wellness Clinic on Jan. 13.

“I believe there was a good turn out today and I am happy to see our membership receiving the vaccine,” she said, adding that this is just first of the two vaccines that they would be receiving and that social distancing, washing hands and following all protocols are still very important as we move through the second wave of the deadly virus.

All members over the age of 18 years of age, of Cheslatta Carrier Nation on the Southside, will be receiving the vaccine and eligible members will be contacted by the Wellness Centre, to book an appointment. “If you haven’t heard from them by Thursday morning, please call them directly at 250-694-3270 to book as they may not have you in their system,” said a Facebook post by the First Nation.

Lake Babine Nation (LBN) Chief Gordon Alec, who had confirmed the vaccine roll-out to membership in a Facebook video Friday, Jan. 8, also received the vaccine on Jan. 13.

“I am here today to take the vaccine for COVID. At this time I would like to encourage everyone to take it. This is it,” said Alec in a Facebook Live video during which he took the vaccine.

The vaccines supply will continue to come to the area over the next three months and “the vaccine roll-out will be dependant on the types of vaccine we receive, timing of supply, safe storage, and transportation requirements” said the Northern Health news release.

Those eligible for immunization will be contacted by Northern Health or the concerned health authorities to book an appointment. According to Norther Health, eligible residents will be contacted based on the information registered with Northern Health and/or their Primary Care Provider.

From February to March, the immunization program will expand:

• People experiencing homelessness and/or using shelters

• Provincial correctional facilities

• Adults in group homes or mental health residential care

• Long term home support recipients and staff

• Hospital staff, community GPs and medical specialists

• Other Indigenous communities not vaccinated in first priority group

Timelines, of course, vary depending on receipt of vaccine supply (and the type of vaccine received) — and logistics, outbreaks or other factors may require some changes to the plans, over the coming months.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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Priyanka Ketkar

About the Author: Priyanka Ketkar

Priyanka Ketkar has been a journalist since 2011 with extensive experience in community-driven news writing, feature writing, and editing.
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