(Dr. Stanwick receiving the COVID-19 vaccine / Government of BC)

Island Health is celebrating a historic milestone today, as more than 100,000 residents in the region have now received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

As of March 26th, around 13 per cent of the population within Island Health’s region is now immunized against COVID-19.

“This has been the largest and most complex immunization effort in the history of our province,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health’s Chief Medical Health Officer.

“I am so proud of the unprecedented work undertaken by our teams and partners, and I’m optimistic for what this milestone represents in our collective fight against COVID-19.”

The first COVID-19 vaccines administered in the region were to health care workers at a single clinic in Greater Victoria on December 22nd, 2020.

Now, the vaccination program has been expanded to include health care worker clinics in communities throughout the region, as well as directly in places like long-term care homes and assisted living sites.

Phase 2 of the Province’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan saw Indigenous peoples age 65 and older and non-Indigenous people age 90 and over starting to receive vaccines in community clinics on March 15th.

In the 100,000 first doses, over 11,500 doses have been administered to people in approximately 50 First Nations communities. This work was undertaken as a partnership between the Nations, First Nations Health Authority, and Island Health.

“As has been reported, First Nations communities across Vancouver Island and beyond have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, highlighting the importance of providing protection through immunization,” said Dr. Shannon McDonald, First Nations Health Authority acting Chief Medical Officer.

“We are so thankful to the First Nations communities who have and continue to play a critical role in this vaccination effort. This milestone would not have been achieved without your efforts.”

Currently, Island Health is moving into Phases 3 and 4 of the Province’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan, meaning that everyone who is eligible should be able to receive a first dose before July 1st.

The health authority will also begin administering second doses to people around 16 weeks after they received their first dose.

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