BC Seniors and the Covid-19 Vaccine

Seniors and their loved-ones anxiously await the rollout of Covid-19 vaccination clinics. BC’s Provincial Health Office, Dr. Bonnie Henry, assures the public that seniors and staff in long-term care centres will receive priority treatment. This leaves many seniors in congregate living retirement communities, asking when they’ll be next.

“We are thrilled to have received confirmation that vaccination clinics for residents and staff at Magnolia Gardens Care Centre and The Waterford Centre are scheduled for January 14,” says Bria Communities Director, Tanya Snow. 

“We’ve had lots of seniors in our Independent Living communities asking when they’ll also get access to the vaccine. That’s up to the Public Health Officer.” 

In her 04 January 2021 press conference, Dr. Bonnie Henry acknowledged that the vaccination rollout is a ‘monumental task, and there are many months to go.” Priority populations in the first two months of 2021 include staff and residents in long term care and assisted living communities, hospital health care workers and those living in remote First Nationals communities. 

When the next phase of vaccinations rollout, will seniors in retirement communities be on the list? It’s difficult to predict, and Tanya Snow and other leaders of independent living seniors’ homes are strongly advocating for it. 

“Every chance we get, we’re communicating to the health authority that seniors living in congregate settings like ours need to be a priority.” 

You can be an advocate as well by voicing your opinion. Send an email to your local Member of ParliamentDr. Bonnie Henry, the BC Seniors Advocate and the Minister of Health, asking them to prioritize all seniors in congregate living communities. 

It’s important to note that vaccinations will not necessarily mean returning to normal for long term care centres and independent living seniors communities. Vancouver physician Dr. Melissa Lem speaking on CTV Morning News, elaborated. “Even though the vaccine is about 95 percent effective at protecting us from COVID-19, we do not know if it protects you from transmitting it to other people,” she explained. “We also need to vaccinate 70 percent of our population before we develop herd immunity, so we have to continue following all our official public health guidelines.”