B.C. on track to immunize most vulnerable by end of March: provincial health officer | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. on track to immunize most vulnerable by end of March: provincial health officer

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for a news conference in Victoria, Nov. 23, 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Province of B.C.
January 29, 2021 - 5:11 PM

Despite a short-term shortage of vaccines, B.C.’s plan is on track to immunize residents at the highest risk of getting very sick with COVID-19 by the end of March.

There were no Pfizer vaccines shipped to B.C. this week and the Moderna vaccine supply will be cut 20 per cent next week but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry expects to make a big push later in February to vaccinate about 250,000 seniors over the age of 80 by the end of the month.

“Please be patient. We have not forgotten you,” Dr. Henry said during a news conference today, Jan. 29. “It will be coming out and we recognize there are limitations people have, particularly people who are older and not as mobile and maybe not using the Internet.”

Details will be coming out over the next couple of weeks about how those people will be able to get their vaccines.

Staff and residents of all long-term care homes in B.C. have been offered the vaccine. Dr. Henry did not have statistics yet on how many actually accepted a shot but that data is being compiled.

Some were not able to be vaccinated, especially if they were already infected. Others may have refused.

The focus right now is to use what vaccines are available to attack “hot spots” such as the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver where people living in shelters are more likely to get very ill.

Priority has been given to outbreaks in three hospitals, including Royal Inland in Kamloops, some prisons and First Nations.

Health officials are talking to groups representing people with disabilities and other health issues about how best to fit them into the vaccination schedule rather than sticking strictly to age groupings.

It’s tough to decide whether, for example, someone who is 90 years old living on their own is more vulnerable than someone living in a group home, she said.

Dr. Henry was also excited about the possibility of a third vaccine, AstraZeneca, being approved in Canada in a matter of days.

It’s already being used in the United Kingdom, the U.S. and India.

One major advantage of the AstraZeneca vaccine is that it works really well for younger people, she said.

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