VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — B.C.’s top doctor has been immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry received the shot Tuesday afternoon during the first round of immunizations on Vancouver Island.
The first #COVID19 immunizations in @VanIslandHealth is taking place. #BC 's Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also received her initial dose to demonstrate full confidence in the safety of the vaccine and show support for health care workers across our province pic.twitter.com/p2OdLCYm3X
— Adrian Dix (@adriandix) December 22, 2020
Vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech have made their way to every health authority in the province, a week after they initially arrived in B.C.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a tweet Henry’s dose demonstrates “full confidence in the safety of the vaccine and show support for health care workers across our province.”
Health-care workers are first in line for the province’s vaccine distribution, and weekly deliveries are already underway.
While Henry has explained it will take time for everyone who wants a vaccine to get it, she said it should be widely available later in 2021.
The timeline depends on how much of the vaccine is available, and when other companies receive approval.
“Vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna have also provided guidance on how to safely transport the approved vaccines,” Henry writes in a release. “This means that as deliveries increase in the coming weeks, the vaccine will increasingly be available in more locations.”
Before the end of the month, the prime minister has said Canada will be receiving up to 168,000 doses of Moderna’s vaccine, though the country is still waiting on its approval.
So far, 4,108 people have been immunized in the province.
COVID-19 update, state of emergency extended
Henry later reported 444 new COVID-19 infections and said another 12 people have died because of the virus.
Since the start of the pandemic, 777 British Columbians have lost their lives to COVID-19.
Of local #COVID19 cases
11,330 in VCH (+79)
30,227 FH (+256)
838 Island (+9)
3,313 Interior (+78)
1,621 Northern Health (+22)
105 non-Canadian residents
(+/-) = change from yesterday
— Lasia Kretzel (@lkretzel1130) December 22, 2020
Outbreaks were confirmed at the rehabilitation unit at Laurel Place and at a further acute-care unit at Surrey Memorial Hospital. Highline Farms in the Fraser Health region is also dealing with an outbreak.
“Community transmission of COVID-19 continues to occur across our province, which means the risk remains high for all of us,” Henry writes. “Because community spread continues, even if you have been doing all you can to protect yourself and those around you, it is important to know the symptoms of COVID-19 and get tested if symptoms develop.”
Contact a health professional or 811 to get tested. Testing sites will be open over the holidays.
Meanwhile, B.C.’s state of emergency has also been extended until Jan. 5.
B.C. has formally extended its state of emergency to Jan. 5 due to the ongoing #COVID19 pandemic. (This was expected)
It allows health and emergency management officials “to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act (EPA)” #bcpoli
— Lasia Kretzel (@lkretzel1130) December 23, 2020