VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The next phase of B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout is set to be revealed Monday.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will be confirming next steps around 10:30 a.m., including who’s next in line for the shots.
Henry has been quite upbeat at her recent briefings, suggesting that by the summer, the province will see a return to some semblance of normal.
“We are in a period of what I’m calling vaccine hope and pandemic reality and our focus has to be to hold steady, to support each other to get through this part of our marathon, our storm, even as it becomes more and more challenging,” she said on Thursday. “We know that there’s more vaccine that’s coming, we know that we’re ramping up and we’re ready to go to protect more people in our communities. And we know that we have the tools and know what to do to keep this virus in check.”
Despite the threat of virus variants on the rise, Henry has said the province is “managing as aggressively as we can” a recent uptick in case numbers.
“We’re learning about the impact that these variants of concern can have but we know what to do to manage these, and we can and will do it,” she said.
Earlier in the week, Henry said that “by the time we get to the summer, we’re going to be in a different place,” giving hope to British Columbians that we will eventually be able to return to activities we’ve been unable to take part in due to the pandemic.
B.C.’s top doctor will be joined by the premier and health minister Monday to outline the latest rollout efforts.
Phase Two of distribution is expected to include seniors 80 years of age and older, Indigenous seniors 65 and over, hospital staff and medical specialists, vulnerable populations, and staff providing in-home support to seniors.
People will be notified by postcard, email, text, or phone call, through specialty clinics, independent living homes, home care services, and family physician offices.
In January, the province announced that it was putting more of a focus on age in its vaccine rollout plans. Mass rollout will begin with those oldest and move backwards in five-year increments until people 60 years and older are immunized.
The province's plan for the next phase of vaccine rollout out today. It will be based on age starting late march/early-April with those 75-79 and will go based on birth year by 5 year groups. DBH says evidence shows age is the greatest risk factor. 1/#bcpoli #covid19 @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/E7A0Djg4Tc
— LizaYuzda (@LizaYuzda) January 22, 2021
The province has noted the greatest risk factor for severe illness and death from COVID-19 is increasing age, adding the risk grows exponentially in people over 70 years of age.
“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our province, with steady guidance by Dr. Bonnie Henry, has made decisions based on science, data and evidence from health experts,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said on Jan. 22. “Our plan puts people at the forefront of every decision, and our immunization rollout will guide us through the spring and summer, ensuring that those who are most in need of the vaccine, will receive it as soon as possible.”
More than a quarter-million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C. so far. Roughly 73,000 of those are second doses.
Canada currently has three vaccines to use in its efforts — those created by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca, which received the green light just last week.
The province has said that as additional vaccines are approved and made available, more people “who are front-line essential workers” or people who work in certain industries and workplaces may also start receiving shots in the later days.”
As of Monday morning, more than 79,000 cases of COVID-19 had been reported in B.C. More than 1,350 deaths are related to the coronavirus so far in this province.
-With files from Liza Yuzda and Kathryn Tindale