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

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for the Cariboo north including Quesnel. (Black Press file image)
Environment Canada issues thunderstorm watch for Quesnel

A chance of thundershowers is forcasted to last until Tuesday

The Gold Pan Grannies attended the Quesnel Farmers’ Market where they sold perennials and vegetable plants and fruit trees by donation Saturday, May 29. They were able to raise $1,000 for the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Gold Pan Grannies raise $1,000 for Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign

Annual plant sale at Quesnel Farmers’ Market a success

Amy Vardy is one of four dancers to compete in their final year of the Quesnel Festival of the Performing Arts. (Submitted Photo)
Quesnel Festival of the Arts graduating dancer profile: Amy Vardy

The Quesnel Festival of the Performing arts is honouring their graduating dancers

Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File photo)
RANCH MUSINGS: Predictions of climate variability and effects on agriculture

Oliver Rujanschi, we will miss you and the warmth that you were. Sorry friend

Emily Nelson is one of four graduating dancers honoured by the Quesnel Festival of the Performing Arts.(Submitted Photo - Robyn Louise Photography)
Quesnel Festival of the Arts graduating dancer profile: Emily Nelson

The Festival of the Arts is honouring graduating dancers

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Most Read