Community-wide vaccinations begin in Prince Rupert

Joshua Azizi


Yesterday was an exciting day for Prince Rupert, as the city's first community-wide vaccinations for COVID-19 took place at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.

Approximately 280 people were vaccinated on Sunday in what Northern Health is calling a soft launch of the clinic. As of this morning, they've booked 4,700 appointments for vaccinations.

The day began with Lax Kw'alaams Hereditary Chief Alex Campbell giving a speech and a prayer before the vaccinations started. He was the first person yesterday to get the shot.

"All I noticed was a cold spot when they rub something on there. I didn't even notice when a needle went in. That's what I like about this vaccine, it doesn't really hurt anybody at all."

96-year-old Charlotte Rowse was another one of the first Rupertites to get vaccinated. She said she's looking forward to "having a good party at home" once it's safe to do so again.

"We have a lot of good friends and we all like to entertain. So that's what I'm looking forward to, because up to now we haven't been able to have anybody in."

City Councillor Blair Mirau was also in attendance at the clinic, although he's not getting his shot until later in the month.

"It's pretty surreal to be here, to be honest. As of last week this wasn't in anyone's minds, and it's been amazing to watch how quickly northern health and all of their partners have mobilized. Over four hundred volunteers between St John's Ambulance, Red Cross, the CDC -- it's really astounding.

Health services administrator for Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii Julia Pemberton said she was happy to see a sense of hope bring the community together. However, she cautioned that Prince Rupert can't let its guard down just yet, since it takes 14 days before the vaccine becomes effective.

"This community has to remember to maintain the public health orders that have kept us safe so far, including social distancing, mask wearing, and washing their hands and staying in their bubble we receive forther guidance from the public health office on what a post-vaccine community may look like."

This week, the clinic is expected to vaccinate around 1,000 to 1,300 residents per day.

The province and Northern Health are aiming to vaccinate all adults in the city by April 1st.

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