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COVID-19: 53% of New West kids now have first vaccine dose

New Westminster still leads in Fraser Health but lags behind Vancouver and Greater Victoria
Child getting COVID vaccine
Vaccination rates for 5-to-11-year-olds are climbing, but slowly. As of Jan. 11, 53% of New Westminster children had received the Pfizer pediatric vaccine.

New Westminster continues to lead the region when it comes to COVID-19 vaccination – but still just 53% of five-to-11-year-olds in the city have received their first shot.

As of Jan. 11 numbers from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, New West's pediatric vaccination rate continued to lead the pack for Fraser Health, the region stretching from Burnaby to Boston Bar.

Schools are back in session this week, and elementary-aged students are now eligible for the Pfizer pediatric vaccine. But numbers are not climbing quickly; last week, New Westminster's childhood vaccination rate stood at 48%.

The Fraser Health region continues to lag Vancouver Coastal, which boasts the highest rates of childhood immunization in B.C. – with the Central Coast at 75%, Vancouver Midtown and North Vancouver at 69%, and multiple other neighbourhoods above the 55% mark (see below). Vancouver Island also has high rates in the Saanich Peninsula and Greater Victoria (68% each) and the Western Communities, at 58%.

At the province's Jan. 11 COVID-19 briefing, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry continued to urge parents to have their children vaccinated.

As B.C. continues to see high rates of transmission with the surge of the Omicron variant, Henry said even younger people are being affected.

“Even though it’s mostly mild, thankfully,  in young children, we don’t want kids to get sick," she said. “It interrupts their lives, and it makes families at risk as well.”

B.C. has opted to stick to an eight-week interval between doses, which Henry has said provides optimal, longer-lasting protection. Based on that interval, the first children to receive their vaccines in B.C. will be eligible for second doses starting the week of Jan. 24.

Want to get your child vaccinated?

In order to be vaccinated, five-to-11-year-olds must first be registered in B.C.'s Get Vaccinated system, after which time an invitation will be sent (by text or email) to book an appointment. You can find all the information online at B.C.'s pediatric vaccine page, or call the central vaccination line at 1-833-838-2323.

Who's vaccinating their kids in B.C.? 

Here are the top areas for first-dose vaccinations in the 5-11 age group:

Central Coast: 75%

North Vancouver: 69%

Vancouver Midtown: 69%

Saanich Peninsula: 68%

Greater Victoria: 68%

Vancouver Westside: 63%

Vancouver City Centre: 60%

West Vancouver/Bowen Island: 59%

Vancouver Northeast: 58%

Western Communities: 58%

Vancouver Centre North: 57%

Vancouver South: 53%

New Westminster: 53%

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
Email Julie, jmaclellan@newwestrecord.ca.