All front line workers in B.C. should be vaccinated by mid-May | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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All front line workers in B.C. should be vaccinated by mid-May

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides an update on COVID-19, Thursday, April 29, 2021.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Province of B.C.
April 29, 2021 - 2:58 PM

Ongoing problems with the supply of COVID-19 vaccines has thrown a wrench into the province’s vaccination plans for front line workers.

That should start to change next week even though the supply of AstraZeneca vaccine has dried up. The province expects to start receiving shipments of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen single dose vaccine next week.

So far, about 180,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered through pharmacies for people 55 and older while other doses went to some front line workers and to battle outbreaks.

The workplace vaccination program has struggled because of a shortage of vaccines. It was aimed at first responders, police and firefighters along with staff in schools and daycares.

READ MORE: 874 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.; 1 death in Interior Health

“A good proportion of each of those groups have been done,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a news briefing today, April 29. “As we have more vaccine come in, then we expect to have those groups completed in the next three weeks, by the middle of May.”

Then the program will be expanded to groups like cross border truckers and workers in high exposure workplaces, like grocery stores, she said, although health authorities are still working out the logistics of how that will be done.

While she’s not sure about when or if more AstraZeneca vaccines will come to B.C. as first doses, Dr. Henry said she’s confident there will be enough coming to administer second doses.

She stressed the need for everyone to register on the Get Vaccinated website so they can be contacted when it comes time to get vaccinated.

The primary vaccination program is still the age based system which is now booking appointments for people 58 years old and older. That age cohort should start to drop rapidly as more vaccines arrive, she said.

“Whether you work in trucking, whether you work in schools, whether you’re in the grocery stores or distribution centres, if your age comes up, get your vaccine through the age based program,” Dr. Henry stressed. “That’s the most efficient way to do it.”

So far, the age based program has resulted in 83 per cent of B.C. residents over the age of 70 getting vaccinated, Health Minister Adrian Dix said.

All but four of the Local Health Areas in B.C. have vaccinated more than 30 per cent of eligible residents, he added.

In the Interior Health region, more than 35 per cent of all residents have been vaccinated, Interior Health said in a media release. That means 275,000 doses have been administered, 260,345 of which were first doses.


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