IH: Revelstoke currently at 4,738 COVID-19 vaccine first doses

Interior Health is running COVID-19 vaccination clinics in Revelstoke until April 30 for residents aged 18-plus, and will assess next steps for the high-capacity clinic closer to that date.

File photo: An Interior Health sign pointing the the back door entrance to vaccination clinics at the Revelstoke Community Centre. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine

At the end of the day on Sunday, April 18, COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Revelstoke had delivered 4,738 first doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

60 second doses have been administered, a number that has not changed in weeks since B.C. switched to a strategy prioritizing first doses.

Revelstoke COVID-19 vaccination clinics for residents aged 18-plus are ongoing to April 30 at the Revelstoke Community Centre, with a target of 500 vaccinations per day. Residents 18-plus are eligible to receive the first dose of the vaccine.

An IH spokesperson said the health authority will assess future vaccination plans closer to the April 30 date.

The current Revelstoke clinics are a surge in vaccination capacity and part of a ‘community specific’ approach designed to offer a first dose to everyone in Revelstoke, which had relatively high case counts per capita during the winter and 46 new COVID-19 cases in the most recent two weekly reporting periods. Elsewhere in B.C., many are still waiting for their turn to book an appointment.

The population of the Revelstoke Local Health Area used by Interior Health in 2021 is 10,696, a number derived from BC Stats. You can use their online data calculator to generate reports.

An IH spokesperson said the number of residents aged 18-plus and eligible to receive a vaccine is about 8,000. No specific number was offered when requested. According to B.C. Stats, the figure is 8,826.

(Again, due to problematic communications from Interior Health, the picture is foggy. “I don’t know how easily we’ll be able to get that level of detail,” an Interior Health spokesperson asked if there was a breakdown in age groups IH was using. “It might be something that is reported through at the end of the campaign.”)

Based on the estimate provided of 8,000 residents, it means about 59% of the estimated number of eligible residents aged 18-plus have been vaccinated with a first dose. Based on the BC Stats figure, it is about 54%. Either way, about 44% of the total population has been vaccinated. This is a significant increase since April 13, when 2,842, or 26.6% of all Revelstoke residents had received a first dose.

The clinic is located at the Revelstoke Community & Aquatic Centre. The main activity room has been set up as a high-volume clinic, with stations ringing the room and dozens of staff working vaccination stations. After registering by phone or online, you receive an appointment notification. Residents line up outside the back door of the building for their appointment, then go through a short intake process with staff, then proceed to the main room, where vaccination staff then do an individual health screening before administering a dose, a shot in your upper arm. Residents can then wait for 15 minutes in a spaced seating area in case of adverse reactions.

A scroll through Revelstoke social media feeds of late show lots of positive approval for the staff, saying the clinics are running efficiently and don’t take more time than necessary.

Local vaccination rate an important number to watch

According to an Angus Reid poll in March, 68% of Canadians said they would get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible when they became available. That number dipped to 63% in B.C., and the findings note that B.C, “vaccination hesitancy and rejection grows the further away from Metro Vancouver they live.”

A second important category was people who said they will get a vaccine, but prefer to wait and see first. That number peaked at 38% in September of 2020, but has dropped to 16% nationally as of early March.

In Canada, 12% of respondents said they would not get a vaccine (a number that has also dipped since a peak in September, 2020, when 16% said they would not). A further 7% said they did not know.

Another wildcard is what is the actual population of Revelstoke and surrounding area? The official estimate used by Interior Health is based on BC Stats estimates and includes communities and work camps in the Local Health Area outside of city limits. However, in a town with large seasonal variations due to its tourism industry, the actual number is a moving, seasonal target. A recent city study put the Revelstoke population at just over 8,800 people in 2019, including usual residents and a shadow population, but not counting tourists. That number does not factor in numbers from outlying areas, however.

Nevertheless, with clinics planned until April 30 with a target of about 500 per day, the ongoing high volume clinics do appear to have the capacity to get a first dose to anyone who wants it, even if the actual population is on the higher side of estimates.

For many reasons, it will be interesting to see what the rate will reach by the end of the April vaccination campaign, perhaps shedding light on actual population numbers and vaccination participation rates.

What the vaccine availability picture and wait times will be in May is less clear, so if you’re a Revelstoke resident in the market for a COVID-19 vaccination first dose, now’s the time.

For information on how to book an appointment online, by phone, or in person, visit this IH website.

Correction: In a previous version we stated the date of the current vaccination total as the end of the day Sunday, April 19, when it should have read Sunday, April 18. The error has been corrected in the story.

Aaron Orlando is a Revelstoke-based journalist who serves as creative director of revelstokemountaineer.com and Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine. He's been on the news beat in Revelstoke for the past 14 years, serving in senior editorial roles. If you have aaron@revelstokemountaineer.com or call/text him at 250-814-8710.