As the provincial vaccine roll-out continues, it is important that all community members have the correct information about current COVID protocols and vaccinations. We encourage everyone to register for a COVID vaccine as soon as possible.
Over the past few weeks, my office has been receiving many questions from constituents regarding current COVID restrictions and what the rules are around travel. Travel restrictions for non-essential travel outside of your travel region are currently in place until May 25th.
Currently, essential travel includes reasons such as:
• Returning to a principal residence
• Work (unpaid and volunteer)
• Accessing healthcare or helping someone access healthcare
A more fulsome list of reasons and definitions of essential travel can be found on the BC Government’s COVID website.
There have also been additional changes regarding BC Ferries and COVID restrictions. Until May 25, BC Ferries will ask travelers if their passage is essential, ask non-essential travelers not to board vessels outside of their region, suspend extra weekend/holiday sailings and allow cancellations for those who had reservations free of charge.
Community members continue to be vaccinated on the Saanich Peninsula, Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands. Over the past month, clinics have been traveling to the Southern Gulf Islands where Island Health has taken the ‘Whole Community Approach’, meaning that whole communities (18+) are vaccinated at one time. The clinics have now finished distributing the first dose of the COVID vaccine to constituents on Mayne Island, Saturna Island, Galiano Island and Pender Island.
Several constituents from Salt Spring have reached out to my office with questions as to why Salt Spring was not included in this ‘Whole Community Approach’. I have shared these concerns with Island Health who has informed me that the decision to take this approach was based on travel barriers to access larger clinics as well as a population under 4,000. The COVID vaccination clinic on Salt Spring is located at the ArtSpring Centre.
Registration for the COVID vaccine is now open to all those 18+. We urge everyone to register for a vaccine as soon as possible.
The fastest option for registration is online at getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca To register online you must provide your first and last name, date of birth, postal code, Personal Health Number, email address/phone number.
You can still register even if you do not have a Personal Health Number either over the phone or at a Service BC office. To register by phone, you can call 1-833-838-2323. This phone number is in operation seven days a week from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. If you need a translator, one can be provided.
In the past week, my office has also received several inquiries regarding registration for the second dose of the vaccine. If you received your first dose before the online registration was rolled out, you will have to register for your second dose. You can do so either over the phone or online. If you received your first dose after the online registration system was rolled out, then you will be notified either by email/phone/text when you can book your second dose.
If you have any questions or concerns about the current COVID-19 restrictions or how to register for a vaccine, please do not hesitate to contact my office either by email (email@example.com) or over the phone 250-655-5600.
– Adam Olsen is MLA for Saanich North and the Islands.
This column was originally published in the BC Local News on May 16, 2021.