For the period of March 21- 27 there were no new cases of COVID-19 in the Powell River Local Health Area (includes City of Powell River, qathet Regional District (minus Lasqueti), and Tla’amin Nation).
In an effort to curtail the recent increase in COVID-19 cases across B.C., however, the Public Health Office strengthened province-wide restrictions this week. Until April 19 indoor religious gatherings and worship services, indoor group exercise classes, and indoor dining at restaurants, pubs, and bars are prohibited. Masks are now mandatory in all schools for children in grades 4 – 12 and strongly recommended for children in K – grade 3.
The Public Health Office also strongly recommends that anyone with symptoms gets tested immediately, keeping children home from school if they feel sick or show any signs of illness, and avoiding all non-essential travel (as well as following the other guidelines).
People aged 70 and older (born in 1951 or earlier) and Indigenous Peoples aged 18 and older (born in 2003 or earlier) are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in the Powell River area.
People who are deemed clinically extremely vulnerable and who have received a patient invitation letter are also eligible.
Anyone in these groups can call 1-877-587-5767 between 7 am and 7 pm daily to book their appointment. For information about how to prepare visit vch.ca/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine. For local information about where to go and what to expect visit prcomplexclinic.com/vaccines.
Applications are now being accepted for volunteers interested in helping with local vaccination clinics. Volunteers are being recruited immediately and will be asked to help with various tasks, such as greeting, registration, traffic control et cetera. Anyone interested in volunteering can get an application form at prcomplexclinic.com/vaccines and email the completed form to Rocio.Andrews@vch.ca.
There have been many questions about the vaccines this week, so we wanted to provide answers to some common ones:
Q: What is the status of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and is it safe?
A: There have been some reports from Europe of rare but serious cases of blood clotting events in association with the AstraZeneca vaccine. This has triggered signals in Canada’s safety systems (which investigates all reports of unexpected medical issues that occur after any vaccination). This system is set up to ensure everyone’s safety. A detailed assessment of these rare risks is now underway, and for now, Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has recommended pausing the use of AstraZeneca in all Canadians younger than 55 years of age.
Blood clotting events appear to be even rarer in the 55+ age group. The benefits of protecting people from COVID-19 through vaccination are much greater than the concerns about adverse events. This is especially important because of the increased risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19 for people over 55.
*As of March 30, 2021 there are no cases of blood clotting events reported in Canada.
For more information about the AstraZeneca vaccine visit http://www.bccdc.ca/Health-Info-Site/Documents/COVID-19_vaccine/AstraZeneca_COVISHIELD_FAQ.pdf
Q: Is the AstraZeneca vaccine being administered in Powell River?
A: Up to this point the AstraZeneca vaccine has not been offered in Powell River. This may change in the coming weeks.
Q; Once I have received my first shot of the vaccine, how do I book my booster (second) shot?
A: In a similar fashion to the communication that has been done for first shots, it will be announced by age category when people are eligible to book second shots. At that point those eligible will able to phone 1-877-587-5767 from 7 am to 7 pm daily to book their appointment.
Q: If I have booked my vaccine and I have to cancel my appointment when and how do I reschedule?
A: To rebook a cancelled appointment, call 1-877-587-5767. Appointment slots are being opened in waves, so if there are no spots available at the time you phone, check back in a couple of days.
Q: Is the AstraZeneca vaccine being offered in local pharmacies for people aged 55-65, as it is in other parts of the province?
A: We are waiting to hear from the Ministry about whether this will be offered in the Powell River area, and we will provide an update on our facebook page and our website as soon as we have more details.
Q: If I go to Vancouver could I get the AstraZeneca vaccine at a pharmacy there?
A: Non-essential travel is currently restricted, so travelling to Vancouver in the hopes of getting vaccinated is not advised. Any benefit that receiving the vaccine in Vancouver may provide is likely outweighed by the added risk of exposure to COVID-19 that could occur with travel outside the community. Because we have been able to broaden the age group categories in Powell River more quickly than other communities people may be eligible for a vaccine in this community sooner than they think. Please stay tuned for the latest updates.
For more local vaccine FAQs visit prcomplexclinic.com/vaccines.