Island Health is about to roll out COVID-19 vaccine to senior citizens in the province’s general population as part of Phase 2 of the immunization plan. Included in this round are Indigenous seniors ages 65 and older living in urban areas.
Seniors aged 90-plus and Indigenous people 65 and older who don’t currently receive home support services or live in a seniors’ supportive housing facility will be able to book their vaccination appointment with Island Health.
Immunization appointments begin on Monday, March 15 in community centres throughout the island.
The Port Alberni Friendship Center is providing support to elders by reaching out to them to offer registration assistance. When calling to book an appointment, you must provide your name, birthdate and Care Card number.
Island Health has reported that a Phase 2 vaccination clinic in Port Alberni will be held at the Alberni Athletic Hall at 3727 Roger Street on March 15.
Indigenous people and communities continue to be prioritized, resulting in early access to vaccine, especially for communities exposed or vulnerable to COVID-19.
Island Health acknowledges that historical and current health system trauma may result in Indigenous individuals not wanting to visit a health authority site to be vaccinated. To address this, the health authority is pleased to be working with Indigenous partners to ensure vaccination clinic staff and volunteers have cultural safety and humility training.
“We have also worked with Indigenous partners to have the Greater Victoria Friendship Centre, the Port Alberni Friendship Centre and the Sacred Wolf Friendship Centre as locations where vaccine can also be delivered,” said Island Health in an email.
Stevens said that PAFC is working with Island Health to hold a vaccination clinic in their facility – a place that is familiar to both the Indigenous population and to the broader community. She could not yet confirm if or when a vaccination clinic would be held at the centre.
For now, Darlene Leonew of the PAFC says she is taking calls from senior citizens in the community seeking information about vaccination clinics.
“We are just trying to provide support for seniors, so they don’t have to wait up to three hours trying to register by phone,” she said.
Leonew is collecting contact information from seniors and sharing what information she has about registration.
“It is important that elders know that they must unblock toll-free numbers and that they must answer their phone when Island Health calls,” she said, noting that many people block 800 and unknown numbers in order to avoid nuisance calls.
Those eligible to receive vaccine in the province’s Phase 2 COVID-19 immunization plan include seniors 80 years of age and older, as well as Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, Métis) people 65 years of age and older. Elders will be able to call a toll-free phone line to schedule an appointment to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine.
In smaller, remote settlements, the province has adopted the whole community approach when it comes to vaccination with one or two-day clinics for every adult over 18. This applies to places with under 4,000 residents that are accessible only by water, air or more than three hours of ground travel.
The following Island Health communities will be vaccinated through a whole community approach.
Bamfield, Cortes Island, Denman Island, Gabriola Island, Galiano Island, Gold River, Hornby Island, Kyuquot, Lasqueti Island, Mayne Island, North Pender Island, Penelakut, Port Alice, Port Hardy, Port McNeil, Port Renfrew/Jordan River, Quadra Island, Read Island, Saturna Island, Sayward, Sointula, South Pender Island, Tahsis, Thetis Island, Tofino, Ucluelet, Zeballos
Vaccination clinic dates on the Island are available at https://covid19.islandclinics.ca/
- Campbell River & area – Campbell River Community Centre, March 15, 2021, 9AM to 3PM
- Nanaimo & area – Beban Park, March 15, 2021, 9AM to 7PM
- Nanaimo & area – Cedar Community Centre, March 30, 2021, 8:30AM to 4:30 PM
- Port Alberni/west coast – Alberni Athletic Hall, March 15, 2021, 9:30AM to 3PM
- Victoria/Sooke/Saanich Peninsula – Archie Browning Sports Centre, March 15, 2021, 9AM to 4PM
- Victoria/Sooke/Saanich – Mary Winspear Centre, March 15
- Victoria/Sooke/Saanich – Uvic McKinnon Gym, March 15
- Victoria/Sooke/Saanich - SEAPARC Leisure Complex, March 15
- Victoria/Sooke/Saanich – Eagle Ridge Arena, March 15.
If you are eligible, call 1-833-348-4787, 7 a.m.–7 p.m. daily to register.