Fraser Health registered nurse Kai Kayibadi draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. British Columbia has avoided a drop-off in vaccination uptakes in younger age groups, leading to optimism about its COVID-19 efforts, the head of a group representing thousands of B.C. doctors says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Fraser Health registered nurse Kai Kayibadi draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. British Columbia has avoided a drop-off in vaccination uptakes in younger age groups, leading to optimism about its COVID-19 efforts, the head of a group representing thousands of B.C. doctors says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

‘So far, so good’: B.C. COVID-19 vaccination numbers steady across ages

Despite the strong numbers in B.C., some public health units are directly targeting younger residents

British Columbia’s younger residents appear to be getting vaccinated against COVID-19 at rates similar to their older counterparts, a phenomenon that bucks trends seen in other provinces and fills at least one medical expert with optimism for the eventual success of the province’s immunization campaign.

Data from the Ministry of Health shows more than 63 per cent of eligible residents between the ages of 18 to 79 had registered to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as of May 18, the last date for which figures were available.

The data comes as a breath of fresh air for Dr. Matthew Chow, president of the Doctors of B.C., which represents thousands of physicians in the province.

He said unlike other provinces and territories, B.C. isn’t seeing a typical drop in registration in younger age groups.

“When you look out to other jurisdictions, as you start to decrease the age cohort … you do tend to see fewer people uptaking the vaccine ,” Chow said in an interview. “But in B.C., so far so good.”

Data as of May 18 shows more than 58 per cent of eligible residents in the 18-24 and 25-29 age groups have registered for a vaccine, with that figure climbing above 60 per cent for those aged 30-34 and 35-39.

That has not always been the case, either in Canada or farther afield.

Quebec’s health minister said Saturday that while initial demand for COVID-19 vaccination was initially strong among teens, the uptake appears to have slowed in the 18 to 44 age group.

Christian Dubé said that group was falling short of meeting the province’s target of having 75 per cent of its population making an appointment or receiving a first shot.

Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley began urging younger residents to get vaccinated as far back as March, voicing concerns about the number of young people who hadn’t registered for an initial dose.

“As we drop from the 70-plus age category, the per cent vaccinated drops with every decade,” he said at the time. “What we are seeing are trends where we have higher vaccine uptake with older age groups, and I think that’s not an uncommon phenomenon, looking at other areas. We tend to have, I think, a little more hesitancy among the younger groups.”

He cited a range of reasons for younger residents to pass up vaccination opportunities, such as work and family commitments.

The territory is now looking to lift large parts of its health restrictions on Tuesday, a move Hanley attributed in part to the success of its vaccination efforts.

Health officials in the United States have also encouraged younger residents to get a shot without delay and do their part to build herd immunity.

Despite the strong numbers in B.C., some public health units are directly targeting younger residents in their efforts to get people vaccinated.

The Fraser Health authority launched an ad campaign specifically targeting young adults on Friday, a move Chow described as “proactive.”

“It’s wise to just get ahead of this, get as many people vaccinated as possible, be really, really aggressive about getting it out to young people as well and we can look forward to a much, much better summer and fall,” he said.

Chow said health authorities have also learned valuable lessons about outreach in certain cultural communities through the vaccination effort.

“We needed better reach out into certain communities, certain language groups, religious communities,” he said.

In places like Surrey, B.C., vaccination clinics are now being held in gurdwaras — places of worship for members of the Sikh community — which has helped, Chow added.

B.C. announced plans on Thursday to vaccinate youth aged 12 to 17 against COVID-19 at community clinics.

The province is also expected to announce its plan to lift certain health restrictions on Tuesday.

Nick Wells, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Just Posted

Regional District of Nanaimo is seeking input from the public for its transit redevelopment strategy. (News Bulletin file)
Public input sought as RDN works on transit redevelopment strategy

RDN wants to know where people want bus stops, shelters and pedestrian and cycling connections

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Nanaimo residents on edge of city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read