Ron Purnell, a resident of the Bulkley Lodge, receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Jan. 22. (Northern Health photo)

Ron Purnell, a resident of the Bulkley Lodge, receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Jan. 22. (Northern Health photo)

Local MD update: vaccinations start in Smithers

Bulkley Valley doctors warn early immunizations do not negate the need for other measures

Last week Smithers received it’s first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Unfortunately not all, but many of the frontline medical responders, Bulkley Lodge residents and staff and Meadows residents and staff, have received their first dose over the last five days.

This is a very big step forward in the fight against COVID-19, but it is only one part of slowing/stopping the spread of the virus. Despite the vaccine being 95 per cent effective (very good) after two doses, masks, social distancing and hand-washing are equally as important and not to be stopped.

It will not be until at least 70 per cent of the population is vaccinated that we will achieve herd immunity (the goal with any vaccine). Herd immunity is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through vaccination or previous infections, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity.

READ MORE: B.C.’s first case of COVID-19 confirmed a year ago today

With any new vaccine there will be questions and concerns about receiving vaccination. If you have further questions regarding the vaccine, we encourage you to go to a reputable website, such as the BCCDC (, for accurate information about the vaccine. For information about the proposed vaccine schedule please see the government of BC website (

Hopefully, in the coming weeks and months, we will be able to start offering the vaccine to people in the general population in Phase 2 of BC vaccine roll out plan.

Thank you for your ongoing mask wearing, social distancing and hand-washing.

Drs. K. Niethammer, J. Flynn and D. Jakubec

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