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B.C. holding remaining AstraZeneca vaccine doses, reports 600 new COVID cases

Last Updated May 12, 2021 at 10:25 pm PDT

A nurse holds a dose of AstraZeneca vaccine before administering it to a tourist resort employee north of Port Louis, Mauritius, Wednesday Feb. 10, 2021. (Sumeet Mudhoo/L'express Maurice via AP)

B.C. says due to limited supply, the province is holding all remaining AstraZeneca vaccine for second doses

Existing pharmacy bookings will be honoured, but additional appointments will not be accepted for now

Another 600 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours and one more person has died

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – B.C. is holding its remaining AstraZeneca vaccine doses and saving them for when people get their second doses.

“Given the limited availability of the AstraZeneca vaccine supply, we are holding all remaining AstraZeneca vaccine for dose-two booster immunizations. Existing pharmacy bookings will proceed, but no additional appointments will be accepted at this time,” reads a joint statement from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.

“We are also awaiting the findings of studies currently underway on interchangeability of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. This will help determine our approach and options for second doses,” they add.

Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Burnaby Division of Family Practice, Dr. Birinder Narang, says the move makes sense because we’re starting to vaccinate younger people who aren’t even Health Canada approved to receive the AstraZeneca shot.

“I think it’s just a representation of where we are at the demographics remaining, and also knowing that we are going to be coming to a place where certain people are going to be eligible for their second vaccination.”
Dr. Narang adds if you’re worried there won’t be enough AstraZeneca for your second dose, don’t be.

He says new data shows the worst that will happen from mixing and matching vaccines is you may experience harsher symptoms after your second dose, such as fever or chills.

“Regular vaccine side effects, they’re short-lived, we found that that will happen, it will likely happen, but it’s not causing any significant problems.”

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Meanwhile, Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan have already announced they would no longer offer that version of the vaccine as a first dose.

Alberta and Saskatchewan say their decisions are due to supply shortages. However, citing recent evidence of an increase in VITT blood clotting incidents, Ontario has said its decision was made “out an abundance of caution.”

B.C. has recorded another 600 COVID-19 cases in the past day, as hundreds of people remain hospitalized with the illness.

Of the new cases, just under two thirds (394) are in the Fraser Health region, while a quarter (150) are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

There are 423 COVID-19 patients in the hospital, 141 of whom are in intensive care.

One more person has died of the illness for a total of 1,625 since the pandemic began.

So far in B.C. 2,277,318 doses against COVID-19 have been administered — 115,295 of which are second doses.

“The vaccines that are approved and in use here in B.C. require two doses. This is why even if you have already had your first dose, it is important to register on the Get Vaccinated site. This will ensure a second dose is reserved for you,” the statement from Henry and Dix adds.

“No matter what your vaccine or when you may receive it, everyone will receive their second dose within 16 weeks of their first vaccine to maximize the protection for ourselves and those around us.”

People over the age of 30 can expect a text or email Wednesday which will invite them to book their vaccine.

“So take two minutes to get yourself registered,” Dix and Henry add.


– With files from Corman Mac Sweeney, Hana Mae Nassar and Nikitha Martins