Northern B.C. residents in the first wave of mass vaccinations will be receiving either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, says Northern Health CEO Cathy Ulrich.
“Most of our clinics will be Pfizer clinics although there are a few areas across the North where we will be using the Moderna,” Ulrich told northern reporters Sunday.
Residents over 90 years old can start aged 90 and older and Indigenous people aged 65 and older can now book an appointment for a free COVID-19 vaccine at one of more than 30 vaccine clinic locations across the region. The Northern Health call centre opens Monday March 8, for seniors aged 90 and older, Indigenous peoples aged 65 and older. On Wednesday, people over 80 years old can start calling in. Northern Health has already been vaccinating people in care homes.
The call centre will operate 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST, seven days a week, and clinic locations will be confirmed at the time of booking.
The number is: 1-844-255-7555.
The actual vaccinations will start March 15.
“In Prince George we will be setting up the clinic at the Civic Centre,” said Ulrich. “Across the North we looking at about 15,000 people to be vaccinated in this age groups.”
She said should seniors miss their appointment time, they can certainly reschedule … even if it may be in a neighbouring community.
Northern Health has been adding staff for both the call centre and the vaccination sites as it deals with the anticipated rush.
“We do have some contingency plans related to the call centre, should that be required,” she said. “There are dedicated staff to the call centre and in addition we have a group of staff that are ready to be redeployed, should that be required.”
For the clinics during this stage of the roll-out, Northern Health is primarily using nursing staff and primary care providers to deliver the actual vaccine.
“Once we get into Phase 3 and Phase 4 we will likely be expanding that,” she said. “Over the entire pandemic, we have brought on extra staff.
Northern Health is remaining flexible in its approach and, should the need arise, how they roll out vaccines could change.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, whenever there are increased clusters in various parts of the region and whether those are associated with a variant or not, we do provide focused attention in those areas,” she said. “There is provision for us to change our vaccination approach if the medical health professionals … make a decision that immunization would be a good strategy.”
You can check for the vaccine clinic location in your area here.