Coronavirus vaccinations set to begin March 15 in Powell River

By Powell River Physicians COVID-19 Steering Group

The upper floor of the Powell River Recreation Complex – the “Complex Clinic” is being transitioned this week. Since October this has been the location of community drive-thru COVID-19 testing and assessment, but as of Monday, March 15 it will be reopened as the site where public COVID-19 vaccinations will take place.

This is great news for the community, said Mélie De Champlain, Vancouver Coastal Health Director for Powell River, as it represents a step forward in our local pandemic response.

“The fact that we are able to make this change and use the space for vaccinations reflects the hard work our community has done to keep case counts low. Low case counts mean low testing volumes, and that means we can free up needed space for vaccinations to take place.”

Drive-thru COVID testing is still being done and anyone with symptoms is strongly encouraged to get tested.

“Even though vaccines have arrived, and vaccination has started in Powell River, we need to continue to be vigilant with our other layers of protection, including getting tested if symptoms occur,” said Dr. David May, Board Chair of the Powell River Division of Family Practice. “The pandemic is still far from over. Ensuring that we are still following Public Health guidelines will help keep us safe until most of the population has the chance to get vaccinated.”

People are still able to book a COVID test online at prcomplexclinic.com. “The only difference is that the drive-thru testing will now be done at the Medical Clinic Associates building on Joyce Avenue,” May said. Anyone with severe symptoms should go directly to Emergency at the Powell River General Hospital.

People born in the year 1941 or earlier (anyone 80 years or older) and Indigenous people born in the year 1956 or earlier (65 years or older) can now book a vaccination appointment by calling 1-877-587-5767 (or someone can call on their behalf). Public vaccinations for people in these age groups will start on Monday, March 15. Anyone with clinical questions is advised to speak with their family doctor or nurse practitioner, or call 811 for nursing advice, before booking an appointment.

Phase 3 of COVID vaccination is expected to begin mid-April for people aged 60 or older and will include an online registration and booking system.

“We are happy to be moving into this next phase of widespread public vaccination, helping to bring the pandemic to a close,” De Champlain said. “We appreciate the public’s cooperation, which is enabling us to do the work to make that happen.”

For up-to-date local information on vaccination people can visit vch.ca/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine or prcomplexclinic.com/vaccines.

This article was first published in the Powell River Peak newspaper.

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As of March 15, Vancouver Coastal Health will be offering a public vaccination site located on the upper level of the Powell River Recreation Complex.

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