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Second doses of Pfizer vaccine in B.C. start Wednesday

Francesca Paceri, a registered pharmacist technician carefully fills the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine at a vaccine clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Tuesday, December 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The second doses of the Pfizer shot are being administered starting Wednesday in B.C.

Adrian Dix says the plan isn't changing despite news that no vials of Pfizer's vaccine will be delivered next week

Dix says delay on deliveries will not be an issue for those waiting for their second dose but for first shots

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The second doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are starting to be administered in B.C. on Wednesday.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the province’s plan isn’t changing despite news that no vials of the Pfizer vaccine will be delivered to Canada next week. Dix says that means about 5,800 doses of the vaccine won’t be available but he notes that is a drop in the bucket compared to the 25,000 doses expected in two weeks’ time.

“A higher percentage of the dosage we do have in the coming weeks as a result of that is going to be the second doses of Pfizer,” he said. “Moderna will certainly become our workhorse vaccine for first doses.”

Dix says the delay on future deliveries will not be much of an issue for those waiting for their second dose but is more of a concern in getting people their first shots. The province is currently giving the second shot 35 days after the first to maximize how many at-risk people are protected against the coronavirus.

“It’s our priority to fulfill the medical direction of the immunization plan and that’s what we are going to do. I think we can do that, ” Dix says.

Drugmaker Pfizer says it has to temporarily put its deliveries on hold as it retrofits its production facilities in Europe.

Maj. Gen. Dany Fortin, who is leading Canada’s vaccine distribution plan, has called it a major reduction, but said Pfizer is still expected to meet its contractual obligation to ship four million doses to Canada by the end of March.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also reassured Canadians that this will not be a long-term problem and that vaccine distribution plans in the first quarter of the year remain unchanged.

As of Tuesday, more than 92,000 Canadians had received the vaccine. B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry emphasizes that although immunizations have begun in B.C., that doesn’t mean British Columbians are not at risk and health measures need to be followed.

-with files from Liza Yuzda and Kathryn Tindale