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B.C. sees 15 COVID-19 deaths over weekend as vaccine deliveries grow

Last Updated May 3, 2021 at 9:16 pm PDT

File: Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides an update on COVID-19 on Nov. 16, 2020. (Courtesy Government of B.C./Flikr)

B.C. saw 15 deaths related to COVID-19 and 2,174 people diagnosed with the virus over the weekend

Dr. Bonnie Henry says May will be key as vaccine deliveries ramp up

Henry says some glitches in the registration and appointment booking program are being addressed

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – B.C. saw another 15 people lose their lives due to COVID-19 and another 2,174 people diagnosed with the virus over the weekend, as the province prepares for a surge in vaccine deliveries over the next month.

On Monday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said with a million doses of vaccine expected throughout the month, she expects vaccination programs to ramp up and anyone eligible today will have access to a vaccine before Canada Dayand we think significantly before that.” As well, as vaccine supply grows, Henry says B.C. is looking at decreasing the interval between doses to less than 16 weeks.

Anyone over the age of 18 can now register to get a vaccine on the government website, and Henry is urging people to do so.

“Once you are registered your dose will be reserved for you as soon as the program becomes available, and you’ll be notified when to book,” she said. “This is the most efficient way that we can do this, and appointments as you know are now being booked for people.”

Anyone over the age of 54 who has registered is now being contacted to book an appointment.

I think by the middle of June we should be well on our way,” Henry said, adding everyone in B.C. should be able eligible for a vaccine by mid-June. “This is going to be a key month. We’re in a whole different world now, and we’re going to be providing vaccine rapidly to lots more people and clinics are ready and able to scale up,” Henry said.

To date, 1,877,330 doses of all three of the COVID 19 vaccines available in British Columbia have been administered. Almost 85 per cent of people over 70 had been vaccinated, according to Health Minister Adrian Dix, while 33 per cent of people over 70 have received at least one shot.

The number of people in hospital has decreased slightly from Friday, with 474 in care, 176 of whom are in ICU.

“These numbers are still too high, way too high,” Dix said. They’re both in hospitalization, and an ICU, that the pressure on our healthcare system is too high, way too high, the number of postponed surgeries is too high, it’s always too high, one postpone surgery is too high, and it’s way too high, and the mental and physical toll on the people who care for us is too high.

Some glitches in online appointment booking system

Henry says there have been some technical glitches with the online vaccine booking system, with some people receiving an invitation to get their first dose after they have already received it.

We will take care of those glitches, there’s bound to be more that will arise as well as we’re getting more and more vaccines and another million doses into people over these next few weeks, but everybody will get their vaccine,” she said.

“Anybody who’s worked on these big IT projects knows that there’s always glitches and there’s things that come up and so I, for example, have had my first dose of Pfizer and got a notification that I was eligible for my first dose because of my age coming up in the past week, and we’ve recognized that that’s a glitch and they’re going to be fixing it.”

Henry is also reassuring people who received a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine that Canada is looking to ensure it has enough supply for everyone to get their second dose on time. She says B.C. is also looking at so-called mix-and-match vaccine studies where people received one dose of one brand and a second from another.

“It may turn out that it is a better and stronger immune response to receive a second dose with a different vaccine. We don’t yet know that, but it could be that we’ll be able to provide the mRNA vaccines like Pfizer or Moderna as a second dose for people who’ve received AstraZeneca, or vice versa.” she said.