Map from the new CDC data page showing vaccination uptake by local health area for persons 50 and older. Data is a week out of date as Smithers has since surpassed 71 per cent for 50+ adults. (CDC graphic)

Smithers surpasses 50% vaccine uptake

More than half of adults 18+ in the local health area have received their first dose

Smithers Local Health Area (Houston to Witset) has reached a major milestone in its COVID-19 vaccination program.

To date, 52 per cent of all eligible adults have received at least their first dose of vaccine according to Eryn Collins, a spokesperson for Northern Health.

The uptake for those 50 and older is 71 per cent.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has revamped its public data web page and is now reporting vaccination rates and more detailed information by local health area in graphic format (although it is still a week out of date).

Collins also cleared up some confusion surrounding registration for second doses.

Anyone who registered for their first dose does not have to register again.

Confusion stemmed from the fact that some people, especially in the early phases of the rollout have been immunized without registering.

This includes doctors and nurses, people who were immunized in hot spot mass vaccination clinics, people who received their shots through workplace programs and those who accessed the Astazeneca vaccine through pharmacies.

Those who have never registered should register, Collins said.

On May 20, the province also opened up the vaccine program to children aged 12 to 17. Although this adds approximately 350,000 people to the queue, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, has said it will not affect the delivery of second doses as the vaccine supply is increasing.

READ MORE: B.C. parents with COVID-19 vaccine appointments can bring the kids

Health authorities are recommending registration for members of the new cohort, but it is not mandatory. Parents who already have appointments scheduled can bring their children along with them to get a shot.

New daily cases of COVID-19 have been dropping significantly since they peaked in late March. B.C. is now reporting about a third of the cases it was at that time.

Yesterday, Premier John Horgan promised restrictions would be loosened following the long weekend as planned, but was not forthcoming with details.

READ MORE: Horgan: B.C.’s post-COVID-19 road map to be revealed Tuesday

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