By now, you have heard that COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed worldwide, including in Canada.
Two vaccines have been approved for use by Health Canada — the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Without getting into the technical details, both vaccines require two doses to be deemed effective.
Pfizer-BioNTech requires a second dose to be given 21 days after the first dose, while the Moderna doses will be given 28 days apart.
The timing between the first dose and the second dose is important, given the limited supply of available vaccine
For example, at the beginning of this week, British Columbia had received 54,625 doses combined of
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine.
In turn, 28,209 of these doses have now already been administered to those who fall under Stage 1 priority.
Who is Stage 1 priority here in B.C.?
A brief summary of this list includes “residents, staff and essential visitors to long-term care and assisted-living residences.”
In addition, "Individuals in hospital or community awaiting a long-term care placement” as well as “Health care workers providing care for COVID-19 patients in settings like ICU, emergency departments, medical/surgical units and paramedics."
Remote and isolated Indigenous communities are also included in Stage 1.
Some have looked at the 54,625 doses of vaccine delivered to B.C. and questioned why only 28,209 doses have been administered to date, pointing out this vaccination rate is only around 51%.
Herein lies the challenge.
Since two doses are required per person, the 54,625 doses allows for 27,312 individuals to receive both shots of the vaccine.
B.C. has now administered more than 28,000 doses.
That means that there is not enough vaccine available for all those vaccinated individuals to receive their second dose.
The supply to give those required second doses has not yet arrived in B.C.
This additional vaccine supply must first land in Canada, then is transported to B.C. and finally distributed to various vaccination sites within our province to be available for those needing the required second dose within that 21-28 day window.
This illustrates the immense challenges that Provincial Health Authorities are dealing with given the very limited COVID supply that the Federal Government has managed to procure.
For some context, while B.C. has received 54,625 doses, nearby Washington State, with a population 2.6 million people more B.C., received more than six times more doses at 358,025.
It is important to understand, with the limited supply of COVID vaccine here in B.C., citizens must continue to take all precautions as a result.
To put it bluntly, it will be some time before the vaccine delivery will make a significant impact.
My question this week:
- Are you satisfied with how the vaccine is being distributed in Canada?
I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.