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COVID-19 vaccines will slowly trickle in until at least April, says B.C.’s top doctor

Last Updated Jan 12, 2021 at 6:36 am PST

A nurse prepares a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy's Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)
Summary

B.C. has a limited supply of COVID-19 for at least two months

Supply issues are slowing down distribution with limited doses until March

There isn't enough supply to reach community immunity for some time

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – COVID-19 vaccines have been trickling into B.C. and the pace isn’t expected to pick up for at least two months, says the provincial health officer.

While the plan remains to protect as many people as possible against COVID-19, supply issues are slowing down the process with limited doses until March and reaching community or herd immunity is still months and months away.

During Monday’s COVID-19 briefing, Dr. Bonnie Henry predicted the province’s stock of the Pfizer vaccine would run out by day’s end, and she said the next shipment is expected this week.

She admitted nearly half of the 20,500 Moderna vaccines the province has are in fridges.

Because those vaccines are better suited to more remote and isolated areas, including First Nations, those doses are being set aside for them.

However, without providing specifics, she said distribution in remote communities has proven to be a challenge.

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“The approach that we are taking is to best protect as many people who are most at risk as possible,” she said. “Everybody is important in British Columbia, and everyone who is wanting the vaccine and is able to receive the vaccine will have access to it. But we know that some people are at higher risk and that is why they are getting immunized first.”

In B.C., first and second shots (primers and boosters, as they are called in clinical settings) will be given 35 days apart to maximize how many people are immunized while giving the province time to receive more vaccine.

“But waiting between doses, it allows the body to build up that immunity to be primed,” Henry said.

Two weeks after the first dose, Henry explained the Pfizer vaccine was 92.6 per cent effective and the Moderna was 92.1 per cent.

As of Sunday, 59,902 British Columbians have been immunized.

Meanwhile, the BC Liberals are demanding the NDP provide more COVID-19 data on a daily basis to allow British Columbians to make informed decisions about their health.

The Liberals are also calling for the release of daily figures of how many vaccines have been delivered, and how many rapid tests have been done in each of the province’s health regions. The opposition wants a daily breakdown of how many tests have been billed to MSP, and how many have been paid for privately.