The Northern Health Authority started twice-weekly COVID vaccination clinics here July 20 in a continuing effort to increase the numbers of people who have received first and second doses.
As of last week, the Houston and area rate was 64 per cent of people over the age of 12 receiving at least one dose, below the provincial average of 71 per cent and behind areas such as Prince George at 72 per cent and Prince Rupert at 80 per cent but ahead of northeastern B.C. where rates are running below 55 per cent.
The area’s percentage is higher when looking at people over the age of 50 receiving at least one dose — 78 per cent, not far off of Prince George’s 83 per cent.
Health officials say the vaccination rate differences based on age groupings are likely due to a number of reasons, one being that younger people, compared to older people, may not regard COVID as something that will affect them.
Northern Health official Eryn Collins said it would not take much to move the Houston numbers up to the provincial levels.
“If just 390 or so more people got their first dose, the community would hit the 70 per cent milestone,” she said.
“In areas with smaller populations, additional immunizations can have a big impact on the overall percentage rates.”
The ongoing clinics run each Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon and on Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
There is no firm word yet on the prospects of regularly-scheduled clinics in Granisle, but residents there can make an appointment at any clinic to receive a shot.
Those wishing their shots should make appointments but walk-ins are also possible provided those with appointments are seen first.
“At many of our clinics, while walk/drop in are welcome, the spots for those are limited and the focus is on booked appointments (not only so that the clinic can plan accordingly, but it also ensures people get their vaccine on the day and at the time they expect),” said Collins.
In the past Northern Health employees in the area have set up clinics at Houston Secondary School, the farmers’ market and have walked through public places as a way of increasing the number of people receiving their shots.
“We’re considering all types of potential formats for clinics/vaccine opportunities… and have invited people to send ideas to COVIDemail@example.com,” Collins said.