VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As B.C. looks to vaccinate essential workers faster, using newly approved AstraZeneca doses, many commercial drivers are optimistic they’ll get their COVID-19 shots sooner than they’d expected.
The head of the BC Trucking Association says drivers in his sector have been asking when they’ll be able to get vaccinated.
“We remain extremely optimistic that, as we work through the spring, our health authorities will find a way to make sure that the vaccines are used to their best advantage, to make sure that we can continue to operate safely,” Dave Earle said.
Balbir Mann with the Bus Drivers’ Union (Unifor Local 111) shares that hope.
“We’re hopeful the province can push us forward, along with teachers and RCMP officers,” he said, adding bus drivers are also concerned about their exposure.
“Our members are worried out there … still, the spread hasn’t stopped,” he said.
B.C. is set up to distribute COVID-19 vaccines by age — opening up by five-year increments — but with the approval of AstraZeneca and the extension of time between doses, the province is looking into the possibility of vaccinating more essential workers, especially first responders, earlier than their age bracket might be.
The province is extending the time between the first and second vaccine doses, giving them four months apart, instead of 42 days.
“That means we can move everybody up the list. More people will be protected sooner. Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people sooner,” Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday.
Dr. Penny Ballem is heading up the rollout in B.C. She said this move frees up tens of thousands of shots that, along with now having AstraZeneca, moves up the September goal.
“It will likely result in by mid-to-late July we will have been able to give a first dose to everybody in our population,” she said.
-With files from Hana Mae Nassar and Liza Yuzda