Despite empty clinics, Vancouver Island 'on track' to vaccinate everyone by July: Island Health

A vaccine clinic in Langford is pictured: (Supplied)

Health officials on Vancouver Island have vaccinated approximately one in five eligible residents against COVID-19, the island’s top doctor said Wednesday.

Island Health’s chief medical health officer Dr. Richard Stanwick told CTV News the health authority is "certainly on track" to reach the provincewide goal of vaccinating every resident by July 1.

Stanwick was responding to concerns among some residents who have shared stories and photos of empty vaccination clinics on Vancouver Island.

"I would love to have the entire population vaccinated," Stanwick said. "We just don’t have people to put into those clinics at any particular time."

"The limiting factor continues to be vaccine," he said. "If we had more vaccine, we would be able to have more people going through our clinics."

Island Health’s top doctor said the region’s vaccine efforts "continue to ramp up," adding "we’ve been promised that there will be more vaccine coming, so what we try to do is match vaccine availability with clinic slots and getting people into those slots."

Stanwick said the appearance of empty vaccine clinics are likely the result of a vaccine supply that’s been nearly exhausted.

"The most likely explanation of what’s happening is they’ve gone through their supply of vaccine," Stanwick said.

"We have had situations – and this happened over the weekend – where things were essentially at a lull," he added. "There were no people to be immunized, so we pivoted staff to do contact tracing."

Island Health vaccinated an estimated 5,000 people on Tuesday, the health official said. 

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