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

According to Langley’s Larry Worledge, Brydon Park is a hidden gem in downtown Langley City. It offers a short walking trail, and is home to many birds and even turtles, like this on spotted sunbathing on a log in the lagoon. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
SHARE: Sun worshipping in Brydon Lagoon

Send us your photo showing how you view Langley, and it could be featured in a future edition

Aldergrove Business Association member Karen Long shops at the Aldergrove Save-On-Foods in May as part of a shop local challenge. (File photo)
Save-On-Foods annual campaign for Langley food bank starts Thursday

50 per cent of net proceeds from Western Family brand to be donated

Hearts for Hospice fundraiser happens Sunday, June 20, 2021 at Fort Langley Community Hall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Langley Hospice/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Sunday: Hearts for Hospice fundraiser at Fort Langley Community Hall

Society is hosting event in support of new 15-bed residence project

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley’s John Kromhoff has more than 1,000 birthday cards and letters – so far

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum speaks at a press conference in August 2019 about provincial government approval of the city’s change to a municipal force, joined by councillors (from left) Mandeep Nagra, Allison Patton and Doug Elford. Members of the National Police Federation claim there is still no transition plan in place although Surrey RCMP’s contract with the city is due to end March 31.(File photo)
Elections BC approves petition application for referendum on Surrey policing transition

Application was filed under Recall and Initiative Act by the widow of a Surrey murder victim

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. (Screenshot from Sebastian Sajda YouTube video)
VIDEO: Surrey mayor unceremoniously cuts off 22 speakers during public hearing

Speakers plead with Doug McCallum not to be disconnected but mayor reminds them to stay on topic

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko, a Vancouver lawyer, has been suspended from practice for two months after admitting that his firm mismanaged $44,353.19 in client trust funds. (Acumen Law)
High-profile B.C. lawyer suspended over $44K in mismanaged client trust funds

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko admits to failing to supervise his staff and find, report the shortage

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

Ridge Meadows RCMP seized drugs, cash and guns from a house on Lougheed Highway and 221 Street. (Special to The News)
RCMP seize drugs, cash and guns from Maple Ridge house

Items were recovered after search warrant executed on Lougheed Highway home June 11

Athena and Venus, ready to ride. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Goggling double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to B.C. commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

Most Read