Fraser Health registered nurse Kai Kayibadi draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. British Columbia has avoided a drop-off in vaccination uptakes in younger age groups, leading to optimism about its COVID-19 efforts, the head of a group representing thousands of B.C. doctors says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Fraser Health registered nurse Kai Kayibadi draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. British Columbia has avoided a drop-off in vaccination uptakes in younger age groups, leading to optimism about its COVID-19 efforts, the head of a group representing thousands of B.C. doctors says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

‘So far, so good’: B.C. COVID-19 vaccination numbers steady across ages

Despite the strong numbers in B.C., some public health units are directly targeting younger residents

British Columbia’s younger residents appear to be getting vaccinated against COVID-19 at rates similar to their older counterparts, a phenomenon that bucks trends seen in other provinces and fills at least one medical expert with optimism for the eventual success of the province’s immunization campaign.

Data from the Ministry of Health shows more than 63 per cent of eligible residents between the ages of 18 to 79 had registered to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as of May 18, the last date for which figures were available.

The data comes as a breath of fresh air for Dr. Matthew Chow, president of the Doctors of B.C., which represents thousands of physicians in the province.

He said unlike other provinces and territories, B.C. isn’t seeing a typical drop in registration in younger age groups.

“When you look out to other jurisdictions, as you start to decrease the age cohort … you do tend to see fewer people uptaking the vaccine ,” Chow said in an interview. “But in B.C., so far so good.”

Data as of May 18 shows more than 58 per cent of eligible residents in the 18-24 and 25-29 age groups have registered for a vaccine, with that figure climbing above 60 per cent for those aged 30-34 and 35-39.

That has not always been the case, either in Canada or farther afield.

Quebec’s health minister said Saturday that while initial demand for COVID-19 vaccination was initially strong among teens, the uptake appears to have slowed in the 18 to 44 age group.

Christian Dubé said that group was falling short of meeting the province’s target of having 75 per cent of its population making an appointment or receiving a first shot.

Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley began urging younger residents to get vaccinated as far back as March, voicing concerns about the number of young people who hadn’t registered for an initial dose.

“As we drop from the 70-plus age category, the per cent vaccinated drops with every decade,” he said at the time. “What we are seeing are trends where we have higher vaccine uptake with older age groups, and I think that’s not an uncommon phenomenon, looking at other areas. We tend to have, I think, a little more hesitancy among the younger groups.”

He cited a range of reasons for younger residents to pass up vaccination opportunities, such as work and family commitments.

The territory is now looking to lift large parts of its health restrictions on Tuesday, a move Hanley attributed in part to the success of its vaccination efforts.

Health officials in the United States have also encouraged younger residents to get a shot without delay and do their part to build herd immunity.

Despite the strong numbers in B.C., some public health units are directly targeting younger residents in their efforts to get people vaccinated.

The Fraser Health authority launched an ad campaign specifically targeting young adults on Friday, a move Chow described as “proactive.”

“It’s wise to just get ahead of this, get as many people vaccinated as possible, be really, really aggressive about getting it out to young people as well and we can look forward to a much, much better summer and fall,” he said.

Chow said health authorities have also learned valuable lessons about outreach in certain cultural communities through the vaccination effort.

“We needed better reach out into certain communities, certain language groups, religious communities,” he said.

In places like Surrey, B.C., vaccination clinics are now being held in gurdwaras — places of worship for members of the Sikh community — which has helped, Chow added.

B.C. announced plans on Thursday to vaccinate youth aged 12 to 17 against COVID-19 at community clinics.

The province is also expected to announce its plan to lift certain health restrictions on Tuesday.

Nick Wells, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Just Posted

The Trail Smoke Eaters will open the 2021 season on Oct. 8 against the Cranbrook Bucks in Cranbrook, and will have their home opener the next night against the same Bucks. Photo: Jack Murray
BC Hockey League announces 54-game schedule to begin in October

Trail Smoke Eaters open season with home-and-home series versus Cranbrook Bucks

Daryl Jolly, his wife Kerry Pagdin, their sons Cole Jolly (left) and Graeme Jolly, and their dogs Gracie and Clover. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College arts chair diagnosed with lung cancer, family launches fund drive

Daryl Jolly co-founded the college’s digital arts program

TELUS is proposing to construct a 5G tower at Pople Park. Photo: Sheri Regnier
First 5G tower in Trail proposed for placement in popular park

TELUS has a consultation process open until June 28

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

South Slocan’s Ti Loran is among the recipients of this year’s Neil Muth Memorial Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
Neil Muth Memorial Scholarships awarded to 4 students

Students in Creston, South Slocan and Revelstoke are sharing the honour

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Grace (left), a caribou that was born in a maternal pen north of Revelstoke, is alive and well said the province. It appears she even has a calf. Maternity pens aim to increase caribou calf survival by protecting them from predation until they are older and less vulnerable. (Contributed)
For the first time in years, caribou numbers increasing near Revelstoke

North herd growing but south herd still concerning

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Kelowna General Hospital. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna General Hospital declared over

Three people tested positive for the virus — two patients and one staff — one of whom died

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Most Read