By Roy L Hales
The arrival of an additional 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine allowed Island Health to vaccinate health care workers in North and Central Vancouver Island. Vaccinations of health care workers and volunteers started in Campbell River.
“Today is important because we need to get as many shots around Canada as possible, to slow this down,” said Lynn Wurz, a volunteer for baby clinics and the hospital thrift shop in Campbell River.
She added, “I think our grandchildren should record this somehow. Take pictures of everybody in masks, around town.”
“We’ve been hoping for this day since the spring when the pandemic started and preparing for it since the summer. The public health nurses and leaders have been working so hard … So it is really incredible to be here today … getting to administer vaccines and saving lives,” said Tara FitzGerald, the Director of Public Health with Island Health.
“It is a pretty emotional day for everybody. The public health teams have been working in extraordinary times, putting out an outstanding effort. It is amazing to see from COVID testing and collection, to contact tracing and case management to now vaccine administration … The accomplishments that our public health nurses, teams and leaders have made are truly awe inspiring.”
FitzGerald stressed the manner in which COVID impacted everyones lives and families.
On a personal level, she said “my daughter’s great grandmother was in hospital when the visitor restrictions began.”
First Nations vaccines begin
“My family has ties to the Snuneymuxw First Nation [in the Greater Nanaimo area] and yesterday our public health program was able to administer vaccines,” said FitzGerald.
According to acting chief medical officer Dr. Shannon MacDonald, 191 First Nations members in Island Health have tested positive since the pandemic began.
Vancouver Island Statistics
According to the Island Health COVID dashboard, there are now 152 active COVID cases on Vancouver Island, 26 of which are in North Vancouver Island.
The BC Centre for Disease control released statics for the number of new cases in North Vancouver Island during December.* There were 37 in the Comox Valley Health Area,18 in the Greater Campbell River area, 12 in North Island and 2 in West Island.