Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun in Salmon Arm. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun in Salmon Arm. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

COVID-19 vaccinations underway in Salmon Arm

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun

Vaccinations for COVID-19 are now being administered in Salmon Arm.

A resident being tested for the virus on Monday morning, Jan. 18, at the Salmon Arm Health Unit told the Observer they were surprised when asked if they were there for covid testing or vaccination. Later that day, a spokesperson for Interior Health confirmed that immunization of priority populations had begun in the community.

Those priority groups, determined provincially in consultation with health authorities, include:

• Residents/staff at long-term care facilities and at assisted living residences;

• Individuals in hospital or community assessed and awaiting a long-term care placement;

• Essential visitors in long-term care and assisted living facilities;

• Health-care workers providing front line hospital care in ICUs, medical/surgical units, emergency departments, paramedics, and;

• Remote/isolated First Nation communities.

Vaccine deliveries will continue to arrive on a routine basis and speed up over time, said Interior Health.

Read more: COVID-19 virus returns to Salmon Arm Secondary campus

Read more: COVID-19 case confirmed at second Salmon Arm elementary school

“The most important thing of note to share is that vaccine is arriving, and will continue to arrive, to vaccinate the phase one priority populations,” said Interior Health. “After that, eligibility expands to the next groups and so forth.”

According to a Jan. 4 update by B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, all Pfizer and Moderna vaccine received in the province will be prioritized for administration to priority populations as their first dose throughout the month. Between December 2020 and February 2021, the province’s goal was to begin vaccinating 150,000 individuals in those priority populations. Between February and March, another 400,00o vaccines will be administered to: seniors aged 80 and older (65-plus for Indigenous seniors and elders), people experiencing homelessness or using shelters, individuals in mental health residential care, group homes and provincial correctional facilities, long-term support recipients and staff, hospital staff, community GPS and medical specialists and First Nation communities.

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