British Columbia's health minister says he isn't as worried about the newest COVID-19 variant, Omicron, because the focus needs to stay on the Delta variant, which is having a "profound impact" on the province.
Adrian Dix says the Delta variant is disproportionately affecting those who haven't been vaccinated, citing more than 150 people, most of them unvaccinated, who have been moved from the Northern Health authority to southern hospitals.
He says the transfers are weighing down the health-care system because most of those people are in critical condition and require teams of health-care workers at every stage of their transport.
The minister says more than 50 per cent of people over 70 have received their booster shots, which equates to about half a million doses.
He says 38 per cent of children aged five to11 have been registered for their first vaccine and about 84 per cent of those who have registered have received an invitation to book a shot.
Dix says the announcement that a pharmaceutical company is making an oral COVID-19 antiviral pill in Canada is good news because it will help those with moderate to severe symptoms, but it still shouldn't replace a vaccination.