The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in Campbell River and Nanaimo.

Starting today, Island Health is immunizing health care workers in long-term care in the central and north Vancouver Island regions.

 This week, Island Health received an additional 3,900 doses of the vaccine, allowing it to expand its immunization clinics outside of the greater Victoria area. 

Clinics will be held in Nanaimo and Campbell River, with care, support, and medical staff who work or volunteer in long-term care being eligible to get the vaccine. 

Those eligible will receive direct communication from Island Health on how to book an appointment.

 “Our number one goal throughout this pandemic has been to protect our residents,” said Sharron Traub, manager of Dufferin Place long-term care home in Nanaimo. 

“Providing the vaccine to frontline health care workers in long-term care is a critical line of defence to keep this virus out, and an important show of support for those caring for and protecting some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”

 “Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine gives all of us working in long-term care renewed hope and a sense of relief after many months of vigilance,” said Jae Yon Jones, Manager of Yucalta Lodge long-term care home in Campbell River. 

“While our entire team is weary, they are resilient and heartened by the added layer of protection the vaccine will provide for both themselves and the residents they care for.”

Island Health is following B.C.’s Vaccination Plan, which prioritizes residents and staff in long-term care and assisted living, people in hospital or community awaiting placement in long-term care, essential visitors to long-term care and assisted living, hospital health care workers, paramedics, public health, and remote and isolated First Nation communities.

 “Health authorities in B.C. are not booking COVID-19 immunization appointments for the general public at this time and we ask that people remain patient,” Island Health said in a release.

A detailed approach for a mass vaccination strategy is being developed and more details are expected in the weeks ahead.

 Read more about the Province’s COVID-19 vaccine plan here and learn about the vaccine here. For more information about COVID-19, visit www.islandhealth.ca/covid19.