All long-term care home residents and staff in British Columbia have been offered a COVID-19 vaccine.
The milestone was announced by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry Friday during her COVID-19 update.
“It is very exciting to share that all long-term care residents and the people who care for them have been offered vaccines in all health authorities around the province and we have very high uptake,” Dr. Henry said, adding that the vast majority of those offered took the vaccine. She said she'd be providing individual care home vaccine data early next month.
Despite the good news, B.C. continues to have challenges getting more shipments of the vaccine, with no doses of the Pfizer vaccine arriving this week, a reduced shipment over the following two weeks, and now a 20 per cent reduced supply of the Moderna vaccine next week too due to production issues.
“It's about 6,000 [Moderna] doses that we were expecting to receive next week,” Dr. Henry said. “We have assurances from the federal government who have been talking directly with both Pfizer and Moderna that these shortfalls will be made up before [the end of March].”
She said public health officials will be focusing their reduced vaccine supply on outbreaks and hot spots around the province, including the outbreaks at Kamloops' Royal Inland Hospital, Vancouver's St. Paul's Hospital and New Westminster's Royal Columbian Hospital, along with outbreaks in several Lower Mainland shelters and three provincial correctional facilities.
“Yes, we are slightly more delayed ... it is going to be a challenging few weeks,” she said. “What can I say, it's frustrating because we started to see the benefit of this. I am just tremendously relieved and grateful that we have been able to get into every single long-term care home and assisted living facility in this province, every single one, and have offered protection to our most vulnerable citizens. That part is our most important piece.”
Despite the slowdown in vaccine supply, Dr. Henry says she's confident B.C. will remain on track to begin immunizing the general population in April.