Vaccine wristbands handed out for COVID-19 hot spot in Surrey, B.C.

Vaccine wristbands given

Four extra vaccination clinics have been set up in Surrey, B.C., this week to ramp up immunization in a COVID-19 hot spot with a high number of essential workers.

The Health Ministry says the first 1,000 people to show up will be given wristbands for same-day appointments at the clinics, and residents must present identification proving they live in Surrey.

Everyone in B.C. aged 18 and up can now book an appointment to get immunized as part of the province's age-based approach.

Cases have steadily declined in B.C. this month, but an independent modelling group says continuing restrictions such as a ban on indoor dining until June 15 would keep case counts low, while reopening too soon could risk a surge.

The group, made up of researchers from the University of B.C., Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria, says in its latest report that resuming activities on May 25 would also mean hospitalizations will not have dropped enough to make a big difference for the health-care system.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has suggested restrictions could be eased in the coming weeks as vaccination rates climb, though the researchers say behaviour such as wearing masks and distancing, not vaccination, has led to a decrease in cases.

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