More than 141K people still unvaccinated in Island Health region: health officials

As B.C. continues to expand its COVID-19 vaccination efforts, the province has released some stats on vaccination rates for each health authority.

As of Monday, 80.6 per cent of British Columbians aged 12 and older have received their first dose of vaccine, while 61.3 per cent have received both doses.

In the Island Health region specifically, approximately 81.9 per cent of residents have received at least one dose as of July 23.

According to B.C. health officials, a remaining 18.1 per cent of Island Health residents have not received either dose of vaccine as of Friday, or approximately 141,169 people.

That being said, the Island Health region has the second-highest vaccination rate across B.C.

The Northern Health region has the highest rate of unvaccinated residents, at 32.5 per cent, followed by Interior Health at 26.2 per cent.

The Fraser Health region has a slightly higher unvaccinated rate compared to Island Health at 18.4 per cent, while the Vancouver Coastal Health region has the lowest rate of unvaccinated residents at 14.8 per cent, according to the province.

(Province of B.C.)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says there's a range of reasons why someone may not have received their vaccine yet.

She said some people may still have questions about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, and that others may have difficulty finding time to get an appointment. She added that a small amount of people are unable to receive one due to medical reasons.

B.C.'s top doctor reiterated that the vaccines are safe while speaking at a news conference Tuesday, and she encouraged all British Columbians to speak with friends or family about receiving the vaccine if they have not yet.

VACCINE RATES PER ISLAND HEALTH COMMUNITY

In the Island Health region, the Saanich Peninsula leads the pack for vaccination rates. According to the B.C. Center for Disease Control, 89 per cent of eligible residents in the Saanich Peninsula have received at least one dose of vaccine as of July 20.

Greater Victoria is a close second, with 87 per cent of eligible residents vaccinated with at least one dose.

The Cowichan Valley West region has the lowest uptake of vaccines relative to other island communities at 70 per cent, according to the BCCDC.

The percent of eligible people who have received at least one dose of vaccine per Island Health community as of July 20 can be found below:

  • Saanich Peninsula | 89 per cent
  • Greater Victoria | 87 per cent
  • Western Communities | 81 per cent
  • Southern Gulf Islands | 80 per cent
  • Oceanside | 80 per cent
  • Cowichan Valley North | 80 per cent
  • Greater Nanaimo | 79 per cent
  • Comox Valley | 78 per cent
  • Greater Campbell River | 77 per cent
  • Vancouver Island West | 76 per cent
  • Vancouver Island North | 76 per cent
  • Cowichan Valley South | 76 per cent
  • Alberni/Clayoquot | 76 per cent
  • Cowichan Valley West | 70 per cent

On Tuesday, health officials announced its "Vax for BC" campaign, which aims to vaccinate as many British Columbians as possible by offering more walk-in vaccination options, and by setting up mobile or pop-up vaccine options.

"We know the vast majority will get vaccinated," said Dr. Penny Ballem, the head of B.C.'s vaccine roll out team. However, she acknowledged that "you have to make it convenient" to encourage uptake.

She added that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is "what's needed to turn our backs on the pandemic."

"The impact is so significant," she said. "It impacts our families, it impacts our schools, and it allows us to get back to normal," she said Tuesday.

Health officials also noted Tuesday that only five per cent of recent COVID-19 cases were found in people who were fully vaccinated from the disease.