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B.C. vaccination prioritization will help protect from Delta variant outbreaks: Henry

Last Updated Jun 22, 2021 at 6:37 pm PDT

Summary

Vaccination rates are continuing to climb across the province

BC top doctor says the way doses are being prioritized will will help protect from outbreaks of the Delta variant

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Despite vaccination rates increasing in B.C. there continues to be a concern over the Delta variant. However, the province’s top doctor says the current vaccination plan will protect British Columbians.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says it’s unlikely B.C. will see the kind of outbreaks related to this variant other countries are seeing.

In the province and country, all age groups are in line to get a shot, whereas other countries are just getting to the teenage cohort, Henry says.

In B.C. 76.2 per cent of people 12 and over have their first doses.

“That’s why immunization is so important to protect communities,” she says. “Once you get transmission in young people, you can get spillover into older people, into people who are more likely to have severe illness and end up in hospital.”

Related Article: COVID-19: B.C. passes million-mark for fully vaccinated people

Henry says she expects by mid-July, 80 percent of those eligible will have at least a dose. But she says there are plans to push past that if uptake drops off like it has in other countries.

“We’re going to be changing our tactics to try and make sure we can … find people and make sure that they have the opportunities to be immunized, everywhere, because it is pockets that we’re going to see spread.”

Because, Henry says, unfortunately, even if most people are immunized “we do get some breakthroughs.”

“So while the risk goes down dramatically, it’s not zero, and the vast majority of the people who are hospitalized or who died were over age 80. So that still tells us that not everybody mounts a strong immune response. And we still have to continue to do everything to protect them and that means younger people being immunized as well. So not stopping at 80 is really important. And in certain communities. It’s going to be really important that we get as many people as possible.”

As of Tuesday, 4,511,923 doses have gone into arms, 1,001,192 of which are second doses.