BC waiting on more vaccine from federal government

BC waiting on more vaccine

Roughly 70,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to British Columbians so far, and the province is now waiting on more supply from the federal government.

During a briefing Wednesday, Health Minister Adrian Dix said they're expecting more doses of the Pfizer vaccine to be delivered to B.C later today or Thursday, while more Moderna vaccines are expected Friday.

Despite waiting on the federal government to deliver more doses of the vaccines, Dix said they are happy with the federal government's efforts. 

"We're going to move ... to millions of doses in a matter of time, it's going to be a massive effort," Dix said. "We are not critical of them, they are working very hard to get more doses and as many doses as they can to Canadians as quickly as they can."

Set to be the largest vaccination initiative in the province's history, Dix said they plan on having 4.3 million adults vaccinated in B.C. by the fall. But this will require a significant ramp up of the current pace of vaccination.

Dix said they expect to receive 792,000 doses of vaccine from the federal government in February and March, which will be given to B.C.'s most vulnerable. Widespread general vaccination is expected to begin in April.

In April, May and June, B.C. expects to receive 2.64 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, but these figures don't take into account the 20 million doses the federal government announced Tuesday, or any additional vaccines that may be approved in the future.

On Wednesday, Dr. Henry said the province is working out the details on how to significantly ramp up the delivery of millions of vaccines in the spring, and she'll have more details on the plan next week.

Minister Dix said they are working to publish an online dashboard that will show the number of vaccine doses administered broken down by health authority.

Dr. Penny Ballem, the current chair of Vancouver Coastal Health, will be leading the province's vaccination rollout.

She said all of Vancouver Coastal Health's urban long-term care home residents have now been vaccinated, and the rest of the more rural care home residents are expected to be vaccinated by the end of the week. Dr. Henry noted it can take longer to roll out the vaccines in the Northern Health and Interior Health authorities as care homes are more spaced apart geographically.

Dix and Dr. Henry also addressed concerns about reports that some health officials have received the vaccine before those on the frontlines. Dix said in some cases, people have received the vaccine “out of line” because the six-hour expiration time limit for the doses was set to expire, and the doses would have otherwise gone to waste.

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