'Exciting day for all of us,' says B.C.'s top doctor as COVID-19 jabs roll out at clinics | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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'Exciting day for all of us,' says B.C.'s top doctor as COVID-19 jabs roll out at clinics

Dr. Bonnie Henry March 15, 2021.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/BC Government
March 15, 2021 - 3:59 PM

B.C.'s top doctor offered assurances today the vaccine supply is safe, despite ongoing concerns around the AstraZeneca supply which has just arrived in the province and will soon be used to immunize workers in high risk settings.

“A year ago, our focus was on slowing the spread,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said today, March 15, after announcing 1,506 new cases of COVID-19, 80 of which were in Interior Health, since Friday. There were an additional 10 deaths, two of which were in Interior Health.

“Now we have three safe and effective vaccines to protect people here in B.C. and across Canada, with the majority of our seniors and elders in care homes now immunized, and seeing how effective that has been.”

Today, the province’s mass clinics for seniors and elders in the community started off across the province with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, and Dr. Henry said “this is an exciting day for all of us.”

To date, she said, 409,103 doses of vaccine have been provided across B.C., in every community in this province. Of those, 87,059 are second doses.

“One of the important things that we do, is making sure that we understand the safety of every dose that's given to every person in this province, and we follow strict protocols to identify and address any safety signals that show up,” she said.

“We’ve heard about this around the world and we report weekly on the adverse effects following immunizations.”

In B.C., there has been 469 negative reactions to the vaccine, of varying severity. Of these, 46 were anaphylaxis or allergic reactions to the vaccine.

“We know that that is something that can happen when people are receiving any vaccine, and certainly we've seen it with these as well,” she said. “These reactions aren't uncommon and we continue to monitor our distribution to make sure that there's not more associated with a single lot.”

With around 60,000 doses of AstraZeneca being readied for high risk workplace settings, Dr. Henry acknowledged there have been reports in some countries that have led to them suspending the use of certain lots of that vaccine.

She said it’s linked to 37 cases and these lots are related to blood clots in the lungs and heart.

“These things can happen naturally, and in a population, they happen at a certain rate, but we also know that they are associated sometimes with COVID-19 itself,” she said.

“We have to remember as well that over 17 million doses of AstraZeneca, have been given, and so far 37 cases of these blood clots in different ways, have been detected. This is lower than we might see even in the general population without vaccination.”

Knowing the lot numbers involved and products involved makes her confident that the risk is not being seen here in Canada with the AstraZeneca, the Serum Institute of India vaccine.

“We’ll be watching this very carefully,”  she said.

“The other thing that I think is really important is this shows us that our safety monitoring is working, that we know that certain lot numbers might be more associated with these (issues) than others, and that the investigation is happening.” 

From Friday to Saturday B.C. had 555, new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in the province from Saturday to Sunday and additional 491 People were diagnosed with COVID-19 and again from Sunday to today 460 new cases.

Of these cases there were 382 cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health Region, 840 are in the Fraser Health Region, 75 in the Vancouver Island Health Region, and 129 people in Northern Health.

Of the 80,373 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, 880 have been variants of concern, with 163 confirmed over the weekend. Of these, 681 were in the Fraser Health region, 161 in Vancouver Coastal, eight in Vancouver Island, 23 in the Interior Health region and one in Northern Health.

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