BC Vaccination Staffing Needs

I wondered: How many people will BC need to hire for their mass vaccination program? tl;dr: I came up with 734.

From the BC Immunization Plan, the mass vaccination clinics (Phase 3 and Phase 4) will vaccinate five-year age cohorts at 172 community sites.

From the 22 January 2021 presentation on the plan (see p.12), most cohorts are between 300K and 400K people. Let’s hand-wave slightly and say 350K people per week. That means 70K people per day if they only vaccinate five days per week and 50K people/day if they work on a seven-day week.

For simplicity, let’s start by assuming a five-day week with one eight-hour shift. From the CDC, a vaccination team of one vaccinator and one person preparing the vaccines can do about 240 people per day. If there was one team at each site, that’s 172*240 =41,280 doses per day. So two teams at each site would get 82,280 shots per day into arms, which is more than 70K/day.

Now, that assumes a uniform distribution, which is clearly not the case. Zeballos, BC (population 107) certainly will get less than two teams (and quite possibly not even one) while Vancouver will probably have many.

Now, there’s a question about what Dr. Henry means by “a community”. Is a neighbourhood “a community” or a municipality? According to Wikipedia, there are 162 municipalities in British Columbia, with #127, Salmo, having a population of 1,141. Salmo is not going to get two teams, and probably isn’t going to get even one full-time team.

If you look at the share of BC’s population that each municipality has and multiply by 50 shots/day, then divide by 240 shots/(team-day), then you can figure out how many teams that municipality needs to do its share:

MunicipalityPopulationPop share*50K# teams
Six largest municipalities

NB: This assumes that the age distribution is uniform across the municipalities. This is not true, but it will be close enough for these purposes.

There are 54 municipalities which need at least than 1.000 teams, with the smallest being North Saanich at 11,249. Those 54 municipalities cover 82% of the population who live in municipalities and 75% of the total population.

If a municipality needs more than one team, but not a huge number of teams, they should probably be all at one site.

So for the 22 municipalities sized between Port Moody and Richmond (and their 87 teams), they should have at 22 sites.

  • Burnaby (10 teams) could probably have two sites.
  • Surrey (23 teams) is very spread out, so let’s say six sites.
  • Vancouver (28 teams) could also have six sites.

So for 148 teams in municipalities needing more than one team, that’s 33 sites. The other 139 sites would all have one team, possibly less if they only have the site open for a few days per week.

That means 287 vaccination teams (two people) at 172 sites. Each site is going to need people to greet and direct traffic, check people in, monitor people for 15 minutes afterwards to make sure nobody has a severe reaction, and possibly help out getting more serum from the fridges, etc. Some of that can be amortized: you only need one greeter per site, except maaaaybe at the convention centre. Each site will also need at least one person adequately medically trained to deal with adverse events. If a nurse or dentist is doing the vaccination, then that nurse can do double-duty, but I suspect that midwives (who are one of the groups recently authorized to give shots) are adequately credentialed to do that. I’m not going to worry about that at the moment.

I had initially thought that one monitor could handle every site. However, each team operating at full speed is going to pump out eight people every 15 minutes. One monitor could certainly watch 16 people, but I think 24 people is too many. Each team probably needs half of a monitor.

I am hoping that as part of the registration, the patients print out and bring a QR code which the vaccine prepper-person only has to scan, or perhaps get a code which the prepper can enter. If not, each team would probably need 0.3 people to fill out registration and check the CARE card.

If a site needs fewer than one team, then the vaccination team can take on many of the roles of greeter, register, etc.

If a site needs fewer than some cutoff, then one person can do both the vaccination, prep, and monitoring, BUT it’s probably a good idea to have redundancy. You don’t want someone having an adverse reaction while the only vaccinator is in the washroom.

So each site needing more than 0.5 teams needs one greeter; each team needs 0.5 monitors unless the site needs fewer than 0.5 teams. Crunching the numbers, I come up with 734 people.

That’s not actually that many.

Categorized as BC