B.C. sees jump in number of people signing up for COVID-19 vaccines

The number of people seeking to get vaccinated in B.C. has more than doubled since new vaccine card requirements were unveiled on Monday.

Health officials said 7,347 people booked vaccination appointments on Monday and 9,486 booked on Tuesday. That’s up from 3,896 and 4,228 a week ago, respectively.

The jump follows a new order Monday from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry requiring proof of vaccination for people going to certain social and recreational events and settings.

Starting Sept. 13, a single dose of a vaccine will be required. After Oct. 24, Henry said, entry to the same settings will require those 12 years and older to be fully vaccinated with two doses, and only children 12 and under will be exempt.

“B.C. has enough vaccines for everyone who is eligible and there are lots of opportunities to get your shots,” said Dr. Penny Ballem, head of the provincial vaccination program. “You can walk in, book an appointment or visit any of our pop-up clinics.”

Officials say 75.4 per cent of eligible B.C. residents 12 and up are fully vaccinated, while 83.5 per cent have received at least one shot. People who were not fully vaccinated accounted for 83.3 per cent of overall cases and 85 per cent of hospitalizations between Aug. 10 and 23.

B.C. reported 698 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death on Wednesday, as an order to return to wearing masks in indoor public places came into effect. There were 5,356 active infections in B.C., with 139 people in hospital, including 75 in intensive care.

Sixty-nine of the new cases were in Island Health, which has 470 known active infections.

About 35 per cent of the overall active cases are located in the Interior Health region, while close to 1,300 cases are active in Fraser Health and 1,347 have been diagnosed in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

jbell@timescolonist.com

— With a file from The Canadian Press

> To register to get vaccinated or make an appointment, go to online to gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated or call 1-833-838-2323

> For clinic locations in Island Health, go to covid19.islandclinics.ca

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