Island Health is working to find efficiencies in vaccine delivery, but that doesn’t mean people should hang around outside the clinics hoping for leftovers.
The health authority surpassed the milestone of 100,000 vaccine doses last week and reliable supplies of vaccine continue to arrive. But even though there’s enough vaccine for everybody, Island Health intends to stick with its immunization program.
“The word has gotten out that from time to time we will have some extra doses, but we do have detailed plans and [a] list the immunizations should go to to capture individuals who are on that eligibility list,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health’s chief medical officer. “We would certainly dissuade people from thinking that if they show up and hang around at the end of the day that they’re going to get immunized.”
Stanwick said Island Health is “really pleased” that people want to be immunized, but said for health-care workers, having to deal with additional stress of people who really want vaccine is actually interfering with clinic operations.
The best piece of advice, he said, is for people to wait their turn.
“We have a very detailed plan,” Stanwick said. “We want as little vaccine as possible left over at the clinic because of the potential for vaccine wastage and we do not want to waste a single drop.”
Asked about the staffing levels at immunization clinics, the doctor said there have been occasions where there’s been “a bit of a mismatch” as far as the number of staff in relation to the number of people receiving vaccine. Early in the immunization program, at clinics for health-care workers, there were nights when staff stayed until 8 or 9 p.m. to administer shots to everyone.
Stanwick noted that a mass vaccination program of this scale has never been done before.
“We hope that the process will be getting smoother and smoother…” he said. “We’ve got big long-term plans. The key thing will be making sure our logistics match the aspirations and to date, it does look like we’re on track.”
Seniors 73 and over are currently eligible to call to make appointments to receive COVID-19 vaccine. Seniors in that age group or someone calling on their behalf should phone 1-833-348-4787 from 7 a.m.-7 p.m., seven days a week.