Vancouver Island residents can now walk into any COVID-19 immunization clinic without an appointment for both first and second doses, as Island Health prepares to scale back clinics.
The Parksville Community Centre vaccination clinic is set to close on Sept. 6 — residents will still be able to get the vaccine at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre.
As of Aug.19, 81 per cent of eligible Island Health residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 74 per cent are fully vaccinated, according to the health authority.
“The COVID-19 immunization effort in Island Health and across the province has been a monumental undertaking,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health’s chief medical health officer. “Thanks to the exceptional dedication of Island Health staff and physicians, the unwavering support of community partners and, most importantly, each individual’s commitment to protecting themselves and others from infection, we can start looking beyond the mass immunization effort.”
The immunization effort to date has included large-scale clinics, on-site vaccinations at long-term care and assisted living residences, outreach for people experiencing homelessness, partner-supported clinics for refugees, whole community clinics in rural and remote locations, in-home vaccination for home-bound people and outbreak responses.
As more people get fully vaccinated, there is less need to maintain high volume mass immunization clinics, Island Health said. There are currently mass immunization clinics operating in communities from Victoria to Campbell River that will close between Aug. 22 and Sept. 30. Anyone in need of first and second doses after the large clinics close will be able to receive their vaccine at other, smaller locations.
“There is absolutely no doubt that vaccination is protecting people from serious illness,” said Dr. Stanwick. “While we’re seeing excellent progress with vaccination rates, there is still work to be done. Please, if you haven’t received your first dose, or if you have been delaying your second dose, now is the time to get it done and ensure we go into the fall with the best possible protection against COVID-19.”
Residents can still make an appointment for their vaccination if they prefer and Island Health said expert immunizers are willing to support anyone who needs extra time or accommodation during their appointment.