Northern Health is offering a vaccine clinic once a week. (Angelique Houlihan photo)
Northern Health is ramping up its Houston area vaccine clinic availability. (Angelique Houlihan photo)

Northern Health is offering a vaccine clinic once a week. (Angelique Houlihan photo) Northern Health is ramping up its Houston area vaccine clinic availability. (Angelique Houlihan photo)

Vaccination rates lagging in this area

Rate is lower in rural areas than in village

The local COVID-19 vaccination rate is slowly inching up, remaining behind just behind the northern average and considerably behind the provincial average.

As of Sept. 22, however, first and second dose rates were lagging in Burns Lake proper, south of Burns Lake and north of Burns Lake for eligible people age 12 and over.

In Burns Lake proper, 78 per cent or 1,786 people had a first dose with second doses for 67 per cent or 1,531 people. That’s an increase in first doses of 60 people compared to Sept. 15.

In the area south of Burns Lake, 61 per cent or 483 people had a first dose with second doses for 55 per cent or 440 people. For first doses, that’s an increase of just three compared to Sept. 15.

And in the area north of Burns Lake, 71 per cent or 1,912 people had a first dose while 64 per cent or 1,742 people had a second dose. For first doses, that’s an increase of 36 compared to the total on Sept. 15.

As of Sept. 22, 72 per cent of Houston residents, or 2,435 people age 12 and over, have received a first dose, while 2,067 of those people, or 61 per cent, have received their second dose.

For first dose recipients, that’s an increase of 49 people from Sept. 15 while for second dose recipients, the increase is 40 people.

Meanwhile, across the north, a least 74 per cent of the population age 12 and over has received at least a first dose.

Province-wide, as of late last week, just over 87 per cent of the eligible population age 12 and older had received a first dose with 80 per cent receiving their second dose.

The statistics in the Burns Lake area do differ slightly as Burns Lake itself, the area south of Burns Lake and the area north of Burns Lake are listed separately.

For Burns Lake proper, the percentage rate of first doses as of Sept. 21 is 78 per cent and 67 per cent for second doses. For the area north of Burns Lake, the first dose percentage is 71 per cent and 64 for second doses while for Burns Lake south, the rate is 61 per cent for first doses and 55 per cent for second doses.

When looking at vaccination rates for young people from 12-17, it’s 54 per cent for first dose and 39 per cent for second dose in Houston.

Meanwhile, the number for COVID cases for the Smithers area, which includes Houston, dipped from 117 for the week of Sept. 5-11 to 74 for the week of Sept. 12-18.

There were 15 cases in Burns Lake from Sept. 12-18, one less than the 16 cases recorded for the week of Sept. 5-11.

For the Nechako area which reaches east of Burns Lake, there were 69 cases from Sept. 12-18, slightly fewer than the 72 cases for the week of Sept. 5-11.

Vaccination rates generally lower than the provincial average in the north, the region now has the highest COVID-19 rate per capita in the province.

And vaccination rates are the lowest in the northeastern part of the province.

Last week the provincial health ministry began flying ICU patients to hospitals in the south to relieve the pressure on northern hospitals.

In Burns Lake, clinics are taking place once a week at the Lakes District Hospital and Health Centre. Bookings are preferred but drop ins are welcome.

Northern Health Authority vaccine clinics are ongoing at a former Coast Mountain College building in Houston, taking place at various times on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays each week. The authority does ask that people make appointments but drop ins are also welcome.