(Island Health)

Island Health announced on Thursday that they have begun administering COVID-19 immunizations to health care workers in long-term care who are located in the Central and North Vancouver Island regions.

Island Health received an additional 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week, giving the health authority the ability to offer immunization clinics outside of the Greater Victoria area.

The new clinics will be held in Nanaimo and Campbell River, with care, support, and medical staff who work or volunteer in long-term care being eligible to receive the vaccine.

“Our number one goal throughout this pandemic has been to protect our residents,” said Sharron Traub, Manager of Dufferin Place long-term care home in Nanaimo.

“Providing the vaccine to frontline health care workers in long-term care is a critical line of defence to keep this virus out, and an important show of support for those caring for and protecting some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”

Island Health’s current vaccination plan prioritizes residents and staff in long-term care and assisted living, individuals in hospital or community awaiting placement in long-term care, essential visitors to long-term care and assisted living, hospital health care workers, paramedics, public health, and remote and isolated First Nation communities.

Health authorities in BC are not currently booking COVID-19 immunization appointments for the general public at this time, and a detailed approach for a mass vaccination strategy is being developed and more details are expected in the weeks ahead.

“Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine gives all of us working in long-term care renewed hope and a sense of relief after many months of vigilance,” said Jae Yon Jones, Manager of Yucalta Lodge long-term care home in Campbell River.

“While our entire team is weary, they are resilient and heartened by the added layer of protection the vaccine will provide for both themselves and the residents they care for.”

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