Fraser Health is encouraging everyone age 40-and-older in high risk communities to book vaccination appointments.
The health authority has identified six neighbourhoods in Surrey (West Newton, East Newton, Whalley, Panorama, North Surrey, and Fleetwood), as well as North Delta, Port Coquitlam, South Langely township, and West Abbototsford as hot spots.
The initiative is part of the province’s strategy to provide AstraZeneca vaccines to high risk zones.
Eligible people who live in these neighborhoods can register now on the Get Vaccinated website. They will be contacted immediately to book their vaccine.
Fraser Health is imploring all eligible people to book their appointment as soon as possible.
On a teleconference Tuesday, Fraser Health president Dr. Victoria Lee said through the existing age-based vaccine roll-out, the authority has seen the efficacy of immunization on preventing illness.
“As we’re seeing increase in our cases among younger people who have not been immunized yet, this targeted protocol will provide us with an opportunity to prevent illness, and decrease further transmission,” she said.
Keeping the hospitals from becoming overloaded is a top priority, Lee said, noting there is significant pressures on the health care system.
Regionally, Lee said hospitals are at around 96 percent capacity, with 229 COVID-19 patients in hospital, and 67 in intensive care units.
“Protecting our communities with the vaccine means we’re also protecting out hospital capacity, and ensuring we have enough base and people available to look after and care for the sickest patients,” she said.
Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin, chief medical officer for Fraser Health, addressed the vaccination of first responders and front line workers on the call too.
She noted there are three groups of frontline workers the authority has been targeting. Giving the community of North Delta as an example, Brodkin said the immunization of teachers is largely complete, and invitations have been sent to police and firefighters over the weekend.
Brodkin noted they have also competed vaccinations for all farms and food processing companies with more than 50 employees.
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