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B.C. pharmacies prepare to ramp up COVID vaccine rollout, as cases decline

Last Updated Jun 7, 2021 at 8:07 am PDT

FILE - Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (Courtesy B.C. Government, Flickr)

On Monday, pharmacies will start calling AstraZeneca vaccine recipients for second doses

B.C. recorded 183 new COVID-19 cases, one death on Friday

If you received AstraZeneca for your first dose, you can the same or a different brand for your second

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As B.C.’s COVID-19 numbers continue trending downwards, the province is set to begin a large-scale ramp-up of second doses this coming week.

In B.C., 3,488,884 vaccine doses have been administered in B.C. so far, representing 72.4 per cent of adults in this province and 69.6 per cent of those aged 12 and up. Of those, 256,725 were second doses.

On Monday, pharmacies will begin reaching out to people who got their first shot of AstraZeneca with them to register for their second dose. B.C.’s top doctor has said there should be at least eight weeks between doses.

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Chris Chiew, GM of pharmacies for London Drugs, says they’ve now received a new shipment of 2,000 additional AstraZeneca doses, which they intend to have ready to get into arms by mid-week for those who got their first doses at the pharmacies in March.

“We’ll be able to reach those people first. Then, as the government sees how much we’re going through, they’ll release more to us as we’re going through the vaccine,” Chiew explained.

“We will contact all the patients we injected for their first doses. So, if you received your first dose from London Drugs, we have your name, your phone number, and your email on file,” he added.

On Friday, the province recorded 183 new COVID-19 cases. There was one COVID-related death, for a total of 1,710 since the pandemic began.

There are 224 people hospitalized with COVID-19, the same as Thursday. Fifty-nine of those patients are in the ICU, down from 62 on Thursday.

Of the new cases reported on Friday, 55 per cent were within the Fraser Health region. Twenty two per cent were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

“This month will be extremely busy for our clinics — continuing with first doses for people 12 and older and also ramping up our second dose program,” reads a joint statement from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.

“Elders, seniors, clinically extremely vulnerable people and others who are highest risk will all be getting vaccinated with Dose 2, with more and more of the broader population following closely behind.”

With files from OMNI News

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify people first started receiving vaccines at London Drugs in March, and to correct the name of the general manager for pharmacies.