COVID-19: Vaccinated snowbirds have to find their own way in B.C., says SFU prof

Some snowbirds returning from the U.S. in particular were already fully vaccinated while abroad, while others had single doses

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Snowbirds coming home to B.C. from the U.S. and Mexico are having to find their own way when it comes to vaccine registry, says Simon Fraser University professor Dr. Valerie Crooks.

Crooks, who studies snowbirds, said some returning from the U.S. in particular were already fully vaccinated while abroad, while others had single doses.

She has called for outreach to give these estimated 375,000 snowbirds in Canada guidance on where, how and what vaccine information to register upon their return.

“It’s not known at what point or how vaccine information for snowbirds will get entered into the local health system,” Crooks said. “We need to start providing tailored information. We know there are hundreds of thousands of snowbirds who go abroad every year. I’m not aware of any point where information specifically tailored for snowbirds is shared.”

Dr. Valorie Crooks.
Dr. Valorie Crooks. PNG

For example, how could a snowbird with one dose ensure they get a second dose within the required window of time?

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B.C. has already vaccinated 70 per cent of its eligible population aged 18 and over, so the impact of vaccinated snowbirds on that figure will not play a role B.C.’s four-step restart plan — that’s based in part on the percentage of eligible people in the province vaccinated with at least one dose.

Stage 1 began Tuesday with 60 per cent of the 4.3 million British Columbians 18 and older eligible vaccinated.

Stage 2, set for June 15 at the earliest, calls for a 65 per cent vaccination rate and “low” case counts, according to the B.C. Ministry of Health.

A target of 70 per cent is acceptable for stage 3 (July 1) and stage 4 (Sept. 7). These percentages do not include the 310,000 youth aged 12 to 18 that are being vaccinated.

B.C.’s second dose rate remains low, at 152,010, or under four per cent.

There were 52,464 doses of vaccine administered on Tuesday, including 3,430 second doses.

The provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, reported 250 new cases on COVID-19 on Wednesday and three deaths. The case count peaked at 1,317 a day just over a month ago. Henry said there are 3,580 active cases in B.C., of which 296 are being treated in hospital including 97 in intensive care.

All these numbers are falling.

dcarrigg@postmedia.com


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