Vaccine rollout is focused on health care workers first, especially those dealing with long-term care facilities. (Nathan Denette - Canadian Press)

Vaccine rollout is focused on health care workers first, especially those dealing with long-term care facilities. (Nathan Denette - Canadian Press)

General public shouldn’t expect vaccines until fall: Interior Health South Okanagan Similkameen

Interior Health focused on vaccinating long-term and first-line care workers

Don’t expect to receive a vaccine soon, the focus right now is on doctors, seniors and others most at risk.

During a budget presentation to the South Okanagan Similkameen Hospital District, Interior Health South Okanagan Similkameen executive director of clinical operations Carl Meadows took the opportunity to speak to the board on the ongoing pandemic and vaccine roll-out.

“Our COVID-19 numbers in the community are dropping, but we have had some significant events in places that have been made public,” said Meadows. “It has been a very long few months.”

Vaccines are focused first and foremost on long-term care and assisted living citizens and staff.

The priority from there then goes to COVID-19 unit staff, ICU staff, emergency staff and then physicians and staff that work in any of those areas.

“We tailored it to level of risk, and that’s how we’re doing our implementation,” said Meadows. “It’s probably going to be fall, that the general public gets access to it.”

READ MORE: No funding for Primary Care Networks from South Okanagan Similkameen Hospital District

Separate from the vaccine roll-out, which is facing its own difficulties on a national level due to the availability of the vaccine, the dropping numbers are a promising sign, as long as they continue that way.

“We did a great job. Our first COVID patient wasn’t even allowed out of their car, they had been travelling and our team caught it quickly,” said Meadows. “We’re still cautiously optimistic. Our numbers in Penticton and the South Okanagan are going down, but our testing numbers are also down.”

Meadows noted that communities had faced challenges, including the McKinney Place long-term care facility outbreak in Oliver. A review of the outbreak, and lessons from that, has been requested by Meadows, and how to go forward with other four-bed long-term care facilities.

READ MORE: Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

READ MORE: South Okanagan COVID-19 numbers continue downward trend

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

vaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ella Lamourexu. (Phil McLachlan, Kelowna Capital News)
Kelowna’s drag story

Ella Lamourexu explains the history behind drag in Kelowna

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Kelowna’s top cop removing barriers for women in the force

Kara Triance’s journey to becoming a police chief was not without its challenges

Pixabay.com
Kelowna Capital News presents Women in Business: 2021

Editor’s note on this year’s Women in Business

Calls for potential overdoses in B.C. spiked in 2020, especially in the Okanagan - Shuswap. Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. (BCHES photo)
UBCO program increases drug checking availability in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon

January 2021 data shows of 95 opioid samples tested across Interior Health, 93 contained fentanyl

Person experiencing homelessness. (Black Press Media file photo)
Program preventing youth homelessness launches in Kelowna

Upstream Project’s goal is to help young people become more resilient

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Island teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

Teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressures from outside and within

Larch Place is the first building to be built in the BC Housing, Canadian Mental Health Association housing project at the corner of Third Street SW and Fifth Avenue SW. This view is from the Shuswap Street side where it sits behind the Graystone East building. (File photo)
Opening of doors at new housing development in Salmon Arm welcomed

BC Housing announces opening of 32 rental units, with 35 more expected in summer 2021

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

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

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Most Read