Vax

Vaccination rates remain low in many areas of Interior Health, with the region accounting Tuesday for two-thirds of all new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Almost two-thirds of new COVID-19 cases confirmed Tuesday in B.C. were within the Interior Health region and Kelowna is a particular hotspot.

Ninety-five of the 150 cases were in IH, provincial officials announced. The IH region accounts for just 15% of the provincial population.

As well, more than half of all active COVID-19 cases - 412 of 783 - are in the IH service area.

Vaccination rates in Interior Health are significantly below the provincial average, a fact which is contributing to the surging number of new cases.

In Rutland, for example, only 70% of adults have received at least one dose of vaccine; in Enderby, the rate is only 62%; in the Lumby area, it's 68%.

Across B.C., by contrast, the adult single-shot vaccination rate is 81.7%, and 65.3% of people have received the necessary two doses.

Between July 11 and July 17, there were 53 new cases of COVID-19 in greater Kelowna, higher than any other localĀ  health area in the province, including much more populous cities such as Surrey, Burnaby, and Vancouver.

On Tuesday, the government launched a new Vax for B.C. program, which it says isĀ  intended to make it as easy as possible to get a jab.

Scores of no-registration necessary immunizations are planned at the drop-in events to be held at community events, mobile clinics, and at so-called 'vax vans'.

Less than five percent of all COVID-19 cases confirmed in B.C. between mid-June and mid-July were in fully vaccinated people, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control says.

During the same period, 78% of those with COVID-19 who required hospitalization were not vaccinated, the BCCDC says.

No-appointment vaccination clinics will be held at these locations in the Okanagan on Wednesday: Penticton Farmer's Market, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; Summerland Farmer's Market, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; and the Eastlink Curling Centre in Oliver, from 11:30 a.m.-6:15 p.m.

There are also ongoing drop-in vaccination clinics in Kelowna at the Trinity Church on Springfield Road Monday to Sunday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4 p.m.-7 p.m. on Thursdays; the Rutland Secondary School gym from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; and the Westbank Lions Hall from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.