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Pandemic claims three lives in Northern B.C. over the weekend

Kids immunization clinics start this week

Three new COVID-related deaths were reported in Northern Health over the weekend.

As of Monday, there were 398 active cases across the region, including 48 people in hospital, 14 in critical care. There have now been 255 deaths linked to COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control.

Children in Fort St. John between five and 11 years old can start getting shots of a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine this week.

The Fort St. John public health unit will be open for children on Wednesday, Dec. 1, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., according to Northern Health. No appointment is required for the drop-in clinic, which will also be open to all ages.

A second drop-in clinic for 5-11 years old only will run Tuesday, Dec. 21, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the health unit. 

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said last week that about 350,000 children in B.C. are eligible to receive the modified dose of the Health Canada-approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Health Canada approved the pediatric shot earlier this month. 

Dr. Penny Ballem, the executive lead for B.C.'s vaccination drive, has said she expects the full children's immunization effort including second doses to conclude by the end of January.

As of Nov. 23, 70% of Fort St. John residents had received a first dose of vaccine, with 70% having received a second dose. First dose immunization rates for youth age 12 to 17 in the city were at 60%, while second dose rates were at 50%.

For a full list of clinic schedules and times in Northeast B.C., visit the Northern Health website.