Appointments will be scheduled for the closest available clinic, however people can elect to receive their shot at another clinic if it’s more convenient for them.

Victoria Schmid, vice-president for pandemic planning with Island Health, said they expect 11,000 people to book appointments for the first week with 40,000 seniors anticipated to come forward during phase two.

“We plan to have all the individuals in this population receive their appointments by April 12. We have a lot of vaccines to get out the door in this period.”

She added the 80+ cohort will be one of the more challenging age groups to reach out to due to mobility or health issues and a lack of tech awareness to book appointments.

Clinics at Beban Park and in Parksville will be among the biggest on Vancouver Island.

“They will be able to do up to 15 to 20 vaccination stations in these sites,” Schmid said. “When we’re fully staffed up at full volume, we should be having 20 stations for people to be working through those.”

Island Health said their current pace is 12 doses administered per station, per hour. Clinics in Cedar and Ladysmith will operate under 10 stations.

More vaccination sites are planned as public health moves into larger segments of the population. Hours are also due to change or expand to accommodate people unable to receive a vaccine during work hours.

Parksville’s clinic will open March 15 while sites in Cedar and Ladysmith begin taking patients on March 30.

Nineteen clinics in total will operate within Island Health. The province is staggering appointments in descending five year age cohorts starting with seniors.

Around 30 communities, including Gabriola Island, without a immunization site will be subject to a “whole of community” approach according to an Island Health release.

Healthcare workers will plan to administer doses of the vaccine to everyone in a community over a one or multiple day period.

Those who call and are not eligible to book an appointment at the time will be asked to call back.

Island Health administered over 60,000 doses of vaccine in the last few weeks with a focus on long-term care residents and staff, First Nations communities and healthcare workers.

A full list of all immunization clinics in Island Health is available on the health authority’s website.

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