Ucluelet senior Ellen Kimoto beams with relief after receiving her first dose of the Moderna vaccine from community health nurse Zoe Jewell. (Nora O’Malley photo)

Second round of COVID-19 vaccination clinics arrive in Tofino-Ucluelet

Tofino mayor Dan Law says vaccines could ease anxiety as busy tourist season arrives

Island Health’s West Coast immunization team will begin the second round of community-wide COVID-19 vaccination clinics in Tofino and Ucluelet this week.

The clinics began on June 8 in Tofino and will start on June 10 in Ucluelet to provide first doses to residents who have not yet received the vaccine, including youth 12-17 years old, as well as second doses to residents who received their first shot in the spring.

Residents began booking their appointments on June 3 and anyone who has not yet registered can do so at www.GetVaccinated.gov.bc.ca or 1-833-838-2323.

Tofino mayor Dan Law told the Westerly News that the community-wide vaccination approach Island Health has taken in Tofino and Ucluelet is vital for the health of the region, which is set to see a massive uptick of visitors as B.C.’s restart plan calls for provincial travel restrictions to be lifted as early as June 15.

“I think the forecast for July and August is pretty much full capacity in Tofino. Every bed is going to be full. It’s going to be a very, very, busy summer,” he said.

“So, we have to be ready and we have to be ready as a community and this is just a fantastic way that our Medical Health Officers and Island Health have come up with to deal with our unique situation. We’re going to get a lot of visitors, which brings its own risks and its own pressures and getting the whole community approach for our second vaccine now is going to help us open up quickly and safely.”

He added that while the majority of West Coast residents will receive their second vaccinations this month, it will still likely take some time for the communities to start feeling ‘normal’ after over a year of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think it will significantly reduce the anxiety. I think that some sectors of the community have been very, very anxious and rightly so for the past year and I think that it’s going to be very difficult for some communities and some sectors of our community to feel really safe. That’s going to take some time,” he said.

He added he is “deeply appreciative” of Island Health’s exhaustive efforts throughout the pandemic.

“What an amazing job they have done for us as an Island,” he said. “Our COVID success overall as an island is not a fluke, it came out of incredibly hard working, dedicated, professional folks in the Medical Health Office and Island Health putting this together and they’ve done a great job.”

andrew.bailey@westerlynews.caLike us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ MORE: B.C. COVID restart plan: Here’s who you can see, and where, as province reopens

READ MORE: Tofino flights added to COVID-19 exposure list

READ MORE: COVID-19: Community-wide vaccination clinics to begin next week in Tofino-Ucluelet

Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News