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B.C. vaccine passports extended until June

Vax passports extended

Contributed

UPDATE: 3:45 p.m.

The B.C. vaccine card program has been extended through to the end of June.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry made the announcement at a press conference Tuesday.

She said booster doses are not anticipated to be included as a requirement, and that the mandate is subject to change should the situation improve.

"We don't know what's coming next. So we want to make sure we're giving the best strongest protection that we can for the future. And I'm hopeful that we'll be in a different place before June and that will help us understand what's needed in terms of the BC vaccine card," Henry said.

Henry also announced that as of Feb 1, youth sports tournaments will be allowed to operate again. Adult sports tournaments will remain restricted.

She said adult sports tournaments tend to be more of a potential opportunity for spreading COVID-19 due to the celebratory nature, but acknowledged the importance of restarting youth experiences.

"We know that sports have a different place for youth in terms of growth and development and future opportunities. So we have always prioritized making sure that young people are able to access these important aspects in their lives, particularly at that age, and there are timing limits for things like university scholarships that become important," Henry said.

"So we've taken all that into effect and prioritized really making sure that we can safely restart youth sports tournaments first."

Health Minister Adrian Dix was also present at the press conference, providing an update on COVID-19 rapid test inventory in the province.

Dix said 6,931,175 rapid tests have been received in B.C. to date, 4,130,656 of which have been deployed to "key strategic areas."

"That leaves us [roughly] 2,242,000 tests in our current inventory that are suitable for self-administered use. And we know that 319,860 tests are in transit and expected to arrive in B.C. in the days ahead," Dix said.

Tests will be going to heathcare workers, longterm care homes for testing of staff and visitors, rural, remote and Indigenous communities, and schools.

"We are also allocating over 250,000 rapid tests for the childcare sector and are working with the Ministry of Children and Family Development to consider best use and delivery of tests licensed childcare operators across BC for testing of symptomatic staff and to support continuity of their operations," Dix said.

"We will have more to say about this as our supply from Canada is clarified in the week ahead."

Henry urged vigilance as the pandemic continues.

“I think we would all love to be done with COVID. But as much as we would like that, our reality is that COVID is here with us right now. And we're not yet over it.”


ORIGINAL: 3 p.m.

The B.C. government is providing an update on the COVID-19 situation in the province.

Watch live above as Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, speak to the situation.

More to come.



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