The Beban Park social centre in Nanaimo will serve as a mass community clinic for immunizations. (News Bulletin photo)

The Beban Park social centre in Nanaimo will serve as a mass community clinic for immunizations. (News Bulletin photo)

Editorial: Every vaccine dose helps the cause for all of us

Enthusiasm indicates a lot of people want to be immunized, a lot of people will get immunized

British Columbians overwhelmed the immunization appointment hotlines the first day with 1.7 million phone calls in the first three hours.

It shows that some of us might have been a little bit overzealous. Those 1.7 million calls represent more than 20 times the number of seniors who were eligible to make appointments that day. But that enthusiasm isn’t all bad. It’s an indicator that a lot of people want vaccine, a lot of people are going to get vaccine, and we’re going to be on our way to building community immunity.

B.C.’s health authorities say they’re in position to be able to meet the timelines and targets of the province’s immunization plan. During many, many months of quarantine, public health officials have been planning and preparing for the largest-scale vaccination program imaginable.

It might seem like a slow process, with 90-plus seniors first, then 85-plus seniors and so on, but we’ve endured just about a year of a pandemic already. With some of the mass clinics like the one at the Beban Park social centre delivering 12 doses an hour times 15-20 stations, immunizations will start to add up. And that’s in addition to continuing immunizations that are underway, for more health-care workers, more seniors in care, and high-risk people experiencing homelessness, for example.

Health officials say there’s enough vaccine available now, especially with more types of vaccine approved in Canada. There are sure to be challenges with the logistics of the immunization program, but Island Health says supply isn’t expected to be among the problems. The health authority is now receiving trustworthy information about vaccine delivery from the province that it can use to plan. Vaccine doses won’t be stockpiled and sit on the shelf, says Island Health – every week, more will arrive and more will go into people’s arms.

“Where we are right now and the announcements we’re giving right now really provide me such a sense of hope,” said Dr. Michael Benusic, Island Health’s physician lead of mass immunization operations.

British Columbians are going to get immunized, and we won’t even have to make 1.7 million phone calls a day to do it. Whether it’s us getting our jab or it’s our neighbours, it’s all bringing us closer to a post-pandemic B.C.

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