Criticism in response to the province’s decision to rollout COVID-19 vaccinations to all adults in the northern coastal community has a Prince Rupert city councillor is pushing back.
“The insinuation that our community is somehow being ‘rewarded for bad behaviour’ is absolutely wrong,” Coun. Blair Mirau said on March 12.
Earlier this week, B.C. health officials made the decision to move away from the provincial age-based vaccination program in order to combat growing concerns of transmission of the novel coronavirus in Prince Rupert.
“After 12 months of success in containing the spread of the virus, our community’s localized clusters happen to have emerged at the same time that the provincial vaccine rollout is accelerating,” he stated in an email to The Northern View.
“If any other community shared our geography, risk factors, and over-capacity health care system, we would be happy to see them prioritized as well.”
Eryn Collins, communications manager for Northern Health, said the plan has always been to take a focused approach to areas where there is an ongoing transmission or outbreak concerns, without taking away from access for other regions.
“B.C. is receiving an increasing supply of vaccines, and that’s allowing (community vaccination clinics) to happen.”
Collins said there are a number of communities, not just in the north, where a ‘whole-community’ approach is being taken regarding vaccine eligibility. Various approaches to vaccine delivery differ for a combination of reasons.
“It could be due to the population size, and knowing that it just makes more logistical sense for the purposes of protecting those communities. It could be due to their remote aspects or accessibility for those communities to higher levels of care if they’re needed, that a whole community approach has been taken to vaccine eligibility.”
Collins explained that as the Northern Health Region is further west in the country when viruses happen it typically takes longer for the virus to reach the regions because they spread with people along highways and travel routes.
A portion of the large number of the recent cases in Princ Rupert are related to the long-term health care facility outbreak, she indicated.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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