Vaccination against COVID-19 is underway in Golden, with the first doses of the Moderna vaccine being dolled out on Friday, Jan. 15.
Priority has been given to long term care residents and staff in Durand Manor and assisted living, with other populations of vulnerable seniors, hospital staff and first responders to follow as directed by the province and depending on how many doses of the vaccine are available.
The vaccine is a welcome piece of good news as the Physicians of Golden can begin the lengthy process of protecting the community from the virus.
“Right now, in our community, we have begun the process of adding to our layers of protection with an amazingly effective vaccine,” read an update from the Physicians of Golden.
“So far, the process is going smoothly and we are excited to be able to start immunizing those most at risk in our community.
“However it is important to remember that it will be months before we see the effects of the immunization roll-out.”
”Early vaccinations in Golden have gone well,” read a statement from Interior Health.
”As with all communities, we are starting with priority groups identified provincially. This is focused on our most vulnerable population.
“As vaccine availability increases, IH will continue to expand into other priority groups.”
Interior Health says that there is no specific date for the next shipment of the vaccine.
“Everyone is working hard across all communities to distribute vaccine as quickly as possible as we receive it.”
Public vaccinations are not expected to begin for several months, although the physicians are hopefully that there will be an increase in the supply of vaccines that would allow public roll-out to begin in April.
While vaccination has begun, it is still crucial to abide by all public health orders and continue to limit non-essential travel and maintain physical distance and proper sanitization efforts.
Numbers have been increasing in Interior Health, with Golden seeing the effects of a post-holiday surge in cases. According to the physicians, this is due to close contacts in small gatherings and non-essential travel.
While Pfizer announced a delay in shipments to several countries, Canada among them, Golden has been designated as a rural community to receive the Moderna vaccine and is continuing to receive supplies to date.
The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at -80 C, but the only places that have the freezer capacity and capability for that requirement is Kamloops and Kelowna, according to Interior Health. Moderna is being used for the majority of rural communities in the Okanagan and the Kootenays.