Julia Pemberton health services administrator in Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii for Northern Health wants people to be vigilant and remember that even after a COVID-19 immunization the efficacy takes effect only after 14 days. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Julia Pemberton health services administrator in Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii for Northern Health wants people to be vigilant and remember that even after a COVID-19 immunization the efficacy takes effect only after 14 days. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

COVID-19 booster for Prince Rupert possibly in July

Northern Health staff worried about a spike in COVID-19 cases after vaccination clinic

With the wind-down of the Prince Rupert community COVID-19 clinic on March 22, Northern Health is still vaccinating some who missed or couldn’t attend the clinic, is issuing a warning to the community to still be vigilant, and is hopeful the second-shot vaccine booster will be administered in July.

Extreme concerns have been discussed between health officials at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital that the public may become complacent after receiving COVID-19 immunizations and may drop their vigilance creating higher risk factors for transmission, Julia Pemberton health services administrator in Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii for Northern Health said, on March 25.

This would place an undue burden on the already stretched hospital system in the city and create uncertainty to the system’s ability to absorb higher case numbers, she said.

”Our health care system is really stretched right now … we just don’t know how many more really, really sick people we can take care of. So we need people to hold on for two more weeks.”

Pemberton stresses the COVID-19 vaccine is not effective until 14 days have passed from the time a person received a shot.

“I am worried that people are going to get vaccinated and then start gathering. I’m worried that before the vaccine can take its full effectiveness if people are not following the public health guidance or staying home, then we’re going to see a lot more COVID in our hospital and in our community.

“So, I’m worried that there’s going to be a spike in COVID … because of the perceived safety of the vaccine.”

READ MORE: Prince Rupert officials dispel ‘bad behaviour’ accusations amid vaccine access

Pemberton said that even though the first vaccine gives 90 per cent immunity with the second dose increasing effectiveness to around 94 per cent, it is unknown how long the vaccine lasts in a person.

“(COVID-19) has really only been in people’s bodies for a year – so that’s as far as the science goes. I know that there are global studies that are looking at antibody levels over time from people in the trials. They’re still collecting that data, and they’re still watching people’s antibodies and seeing when do they fall.”

When asked about the four-month period in between the first COVID-19 shot and the follow-up booster, Pemberton said that the health authority is not the one who determines the length of time in between injections. That decision has been made by Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization.

“It’s a panel of experts who reviewed the scientific literature and decided that was an appropriate decision to make. So Northern Health didn’t make that decision. We’re just following the guidelines.”

The health services administrator said she has received no information to indicate that the boosters will not be administered according to the NACI’s recommendations, which in the case of Prince Rupert would be around July.

‘So, everything that I’m being told is that we are going to be immunizing at the four-month mark,” she told The Northern View.

“I’m going on the plan that we’re immunizing again. We’ve left the clinic down at the Civic Center ready to re-open if we get the go-ahead.”

With more than 8,500 vaccines administered during the community-whole clinic the city is now ahead of other communities which need the focus on their first vaccine, Pemberton said, with the Province stating everyone will able to receive the first dose by July, instead of September as originally announced.

First vaccines are still available to residents in the Prince Rupert area by phoning the local health unit, Pemberton said.

READ MORE: B.C. COVID-19 infections still spreading as vaccination underway


 
K-J Millar | Journalist 
Send K-J email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dreamfish are hung on the fence at Annunication School in Prince Rupert on April 17 as part of the Stream of Dream eco-education program teaching about local watersheds and salmon habitats. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Stream of Dreams fish swim the fence at Prince Rupert School

Students at Annunciation school learned about watershed protection and salmon habitat

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Registered Nurse, Teresa Friesen immunizes Dunrovin resident, Richard Brophy. Resident’s at the home were the first in Quesnel to receive COVID-19 vaccines. (Submitted Photo)
COLUMN: Vaccine floodgates should be opened

This editor’s column first appeared in the April 14 edition of the Quesnel Cariboo Observer

BC CDC mapping for the week ending April 4, shows a sharp decrease in COVID-19 cases to 27 in Prince Rupert down 45 from the week prior. (Image: BCCDC)
Sharp decline in Prince Rupert COVID-19 cases

Prince Rupert lab-confirmed cases are down 62.5 per cent in one week

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Letisha Reimer, 13, was killed Nov. 1, 2016 in a stabbing at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
Second-degree murder conviction stands for Abbotsford school killer

Judge finds that Gabriel Klein is criminally responsible for death of Letisha Reimer

FILE – RCMP officers wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 stand by as protesters opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion block rail lines, in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, November 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Very scary’: B.C. travel rules too vague, shouldn’t involve police, civil liberties group says

BCCLA said that speaking with communities could have avoided top-down approach

Ocean Legacy Foundation members conduct a shoreline pollution cleanup in Vancouver. (OLP)
It’s time to end ‘suffocating’ plastic pollution along B.C. shorelines, advocates urge

This Earth Day, Ocean Legacy Foundation is launching a free educational platform to educate the public about plastic pollution

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
B.C. teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. university rowing coach ‘deeply sorry’ after complaints

Barney Williams says he’s been committed to ensuring no other member of the roster had a similar experience

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
B.C. girl’s wish granted as her cat came back, two years later

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

(Bandstra Transportation photo)
Smithers family-owned business institution sold to publicly-traded company

Bandstra Transportation and Babine Trucking acquired by Mullen Group

Most Read