'Beginning of the end may be in front of us:' B.C. premier says of COVID-19 pandemic | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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'Beginning of the end may be in front of us:' B.C. premier says of COVID-19 pandemic

Premier John Horgan speaks to reporters at a news conference in Victoria, Dec. 2, 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Province of B.C.
December 09, 2020 - 4:13 PM

The first round of vaccines will arrive in the Lower Mainland next week, but it will be months until there is enough to roll out across the province, B.C. health officials said today.

“Right now we are only receiving small amounts of vaccine and like every place in the world will get the vaccine delivered to us sequentially in coming weeks,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said today, Dec. 9.

“Eventually, everybody who can and wants to get a vaccine will have access, but to be clear this will not happen right away. We all need to continue to protect each other by taking those measures that prevent transmission.”

Next week, B.C. will be getting a small preliminary batch to figure things out and make sure health officials can distribute it safely.

“We will be focusing on making sure that we can protect as many people as possible in the period of time that we have,” Dr. Henry said.

Health-care workers who work in long-term care, ICUs and COVID-medical wards will be first to get the vaccines.

Starting in late December and January, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine will be available in all health authorities and they  will then determine the sequencing of health care workers who will get the vaccination.

“From there we’ll add the next layer into our sequence to include people of advanced age, over the age of 80, as well as higher risk communities,” Dr, Henry said, noting those are people who are in higher-risk situations, like those living in shelters. 

By spring, there should be more available through other channels and the plan is to have immunized 380,000 British Columbians against COVID-19 by March 31, 2021, with priority given to residents and staff of long-term care homes and health-care workers.

“I ask you to please be patient and understanding and please continue to use those layers of protection that keep us all safe until it is your turn,” Dr. Henry said.

“We are not yet through this storm but our plan has been but to be flexible and there will be changes along the way. And we will let you know when we know. There will likely be some hiccups and when they happen we’ll adjust our plans and we will respond to the circumstances and we’ll continue to update people along the way.”

The first vaccine that will arrive is from Pfizer and the second will likely be from Moderna.

Premier John Horgan described the vaccination news of the week as a glimmer of hope.

“Although COVID-19 has turned lives upside down today and this week there is a glimmer of hope, that although the end is not in front of us, the beginning of the end may well be,” Premier Horgan said.

“The announcement that vaccines are available and will be coming to British Columbia as early as next week is a sign of optimism for all of us an opportunity for us to celebrate briefly, but then redouble our efforts as we go into the next number of months, as more vaccines become available.”

Horgan said before we get to a safer place, people need to remain vigilant in keeping COVID-19 under control.

“When you see the finish line you don't stop running,” Horgan said. “You focus, you dig down deep to find that extra resolve to get to the finish line. That's where we are today.”

Tomorrow, Horgan said he’ll be participating in a first minister's call with the Prime Minister and other premiers across the country and the first topic will be the vaccine arrival, how it will be distributed across the country and what this means for the Canadian Federation, going forward.

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