Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. turns to second doses of COVID-19 vaccine as supplies slow

Pfizer shipments down until February, to be made up in March

B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization program shifts to second doses this week, as priority health care workers reach the 35-day mark since their first dose and provincial health authorities deal with an expected three-week reduction in shipments of Pfizer vaccine.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry extended the period between first and second doses to 35 days based on encouraging results from first doses, and the need to protect long-term care employees and residents as well as front-line hospital staff. Then last week the federal government announced a reduction in shipments from Pfizer into Canada as it revamps its production in an effort to keep up with global demand.

Henry said Monday the reduced shipments are expected to continue into February, but they will be made up once production resumes. Health authorities are to begin reporting first and second dose deliveries this week.

“Although the supply comes back up again very quickly, next week is where we’ll be most affected,” Henry said in a briefing Jan. 18. “We received those numbers over the weekend and we know that this delay will temporarily slow our delivery into the next phase of at-risk people, particularly into other parts of our hospital system.”

RELATED: No Pfizer vaccines arriving in Canada next week

RELATED: Vaccine advised for those who’ve had COVID-19

High-priority groups, including front-line health care workers, senior care home residents and those waiting for a space in long-term care, and 25,000 residents of remote and Indigenous communities, are receiving vaccinations in January and February.

Next in line are community-based seniors aged 80 and up (65 and up for Indigenous seniors), for a total of about 260,000 people. Also in this priority group are people in shelters or correctional facilities and adults in mental health residential care.

With increased volume of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines starting in March, Health Canada is expected to approve other vaccines from AstraZeneca and Janssen soon, allowing a mass vaccination program to begin in descending five-year age groups after people aged 80 and older have been vaccinated.

“Although today we have a slight delay, we are still on track to protect those most vulnerable by the end of March and starting in April to expand dramatically the access to vaccine to people across the province to protect us all,” Henry said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press - file photo)
WEATHER: Enjoy the sun today, prepare for a week of rain

Clouds and rain to arrive by evening, Environment Canada forecasts

Chilliwack’s Ryan Wugalter with his kids, three-year-old Mira and 15-month-old Solomon. Wugalter recently released his children’s album Super Giraffe. (Submitted)
Chilliwack father releases children’s album, songs about superhero giraffe and not eating magnets

Inspiration for Ryan Wugalter’s new album ‘Super Giraffe’ came from his two young kids

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Several Abbotsford citizens and athletes have participated in the SOBC’s Polar Plunge fundraiser campaign. (Facebook photo)
Abbotsford residents taking the Polar Plunge for SOBC

Local Michelle Hill jumping into Albert Dyck Park on Saturday, several others also taking part

Passengers aboard Komagata Maru in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet, 1914 - Library and Archives Canada image
Abbotsford council is asked to rename street in memory of Komagata Maru victims

Most of 376 the passengers aboard ship were denied entry into Canada in 1914

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

Judith Uwamahoro is Black, approximately 4’7″ tall, 80 pounds and has short black hair and brown eyes. (Surrey RCMP handout)
UPDATED: Lower Mainland 9-year-old located after police make public plea

Judith Uwamahoro went missing Friday at around 4 p.m. in Surrey

Five-year-old Nancy Murphy wears a full mask and face shield as she waits in line for her kindergarten class to enter school during the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Variant of concern linked to COVID-19 outbreak at three Surrey schools

Cases appear to be linked to community transmissions, but schools will remain open

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read