Delta Mayor George Harvie sent a letter to Health Minister Adrian Dix on Wednesday, April 14 asking the province to prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations for the city’s first responders. Fraser Health said April 20 that immunization of teachers, police, firefighters and paramedics in North Delta should be “largely complete” by the end of the week. (Office of Mayor George V. Harvie/Twitter photo)

Vaccination of North Delta first responders to be ‘largely complete’ by end of week

Teachers, police, firefighters and paramedics targeted under provincial vaccination program

Most designated frontline workers in North Delta should receive their COVID-19 vaccinations by the end of the week.

The news comes as the province targets North Delta and a dozen other “high risk” communities to receive addition AstraZeneca vaccine clinics for anyone aged 40 and up later this week.

During a media availability on Tuesday (April 20), Fraser Health’s chief medical health officer and vice-president of population health, Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin, said the health authority is targeting three groups of in North Delta — teachers, police and firefighters/paramedics — as part of a province-wide program to vaccinate frontline workers.

“In North Delta, the immunization of teachers is largely complete, and the invitations went out to police and fire over the weekend and they have started booking in,” Brodkin said. “I imagine that the immunization on those two groups should be complete or largely complete by the end of this week.”

Brodkin said Fraser Health is working down the list of other priority frontline workers — such as child care staff, grocery store employees,postal workers, bylaw and quarantine officers, manufacturing workers, wholesale/warehousing employees and cross-border transport staff — as more doses of the vaccine become available.

“We’re working down that list as quickly as we can. It is very much dependant on supply, and I think you all know that there have been some issues with supply, but we are working down the list as we can,” Brodkin said.

“We have completed immunization of all farms and food processors in Fraser Health with greater than 50 employees. We’re now actively working on immunizing teachers and first responders, and we’ll continue working down the rest of the list as soon as we have the vaccine supply.”

On Monday (April 19), the province announced it will begin targeting “high risk” communities — including North Delta and some parts of Surrey — with additional AstraZeneca vaccine clinics for anyone aged 40 and up.

READ MORE: Parts of Surrey, North Delta to get AstraZeneca vaccines for people ages 40+ (April 19, 2021)

RELATED: B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination (April 19, 2021)

The province announced that it has immediate access to 75,000 doses from the United State, and that 114,171 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine had been administered so far in B.C. — 91,000 of those through pharmacies. An additional 88,000 are still available in 604 pharmacies across the province.

Data released Monday shows North Delta had 359 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days — the fourth highest rate in B.C. — with 19,430 people aged 40 and up yet to be vaccinated.

Meanwhile, people aged 40 and up both inside and outside the high-risk communities will also now be eligible to book an AstraZeneca vaccine at participating pharmacies. A list of immunization clinics and participating pharmacies is available at fraserhealth.ca/health-topics-a-to-z/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccine/locations.

Last week, Delta Mayor George Harvie released a letter to Health Minister Adrian Dix requesting priority vaccinations for the city’s first responders.

With the rise in COVID-19 cases in Delta and the city’s shared border with Surrey — home to six of the “high risk” communities now being targeted by Fraser Health and the province, Harvie expressed his concern for the health and safety of Delta’s first responders and their ability to continue to carry out essential duties in the community.

RELATED: Active COVID-19 case in Delta hit new high (April 15, 2021)

“Given the essential and life-saving work done by first responders in all jurisdictions, it is imperative that the sector be treated consistently throughout the region with an equitable approach to priority vaccine access,” Harvie wrote in his letter dated Wednesday, April 14.

“This is especially important because first responders frequently work across jurisdictional borders to respond to emergencies and save lives. While some jurisdictions may currently be experiencing higher case levels than others, all first responders are at risk and protecting the entire sector is vital to continuing their life-saving work in all communities.”

— with files from Katya Slepian

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editor@northdeltareporter.com

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