Alberta opens COVID vaccine registration to those over 75, B.C. to unveil its plan next week

Alberta opens COVID vaccine registration to those over 75, B.C. to unveil its plan next week
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WatchAs some provinces roll out their mass vaccine plans, some argue B.C. is behind. But Dr. Bonnie Henry says our demographics are different. April Lawrence reports.

There was excitement and frustration in Alberta on Wednesday as opened its mass vaccine registration for those 75 years and older.

But technical problems meant many waited hours and some didn’t get through at all.

Both Ontario and Manitoba also announced their mass vaccine rollout plans Wednesday, but in B.C. the plan won’t be unveiled until next week.

When asked on Tuesday why Alberta seemed to be so far ahead, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s provincial health officer, said B.C.’s demographics are much different.

“They have much fewer seniors over the age of 75, over the age of 70, so they have tailored their program to their circumstances and we’re tailoring ours to our circumstances,” she said.

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And B.C.’s circumstances, at least in graph form, do certainly appear different.

If you look at the 7-day rolling case count in places like Ontario, Quebec and Alberta over the past month or so, you can see a significant drop in their curves.

While in B.C. it looks more like a steady, horizontal line.

“Other provinces have implemented much stricter measures, we had indoor dining and some schools closed in Alberta, curfews in Quebec, stay at home orders in Ontario and even if compliance isn’t completely perfect those measures work and we know they work,” said SFU COVID-19 modeller and mathematics professor Caroline Colijn.

Colijn says B.C. has taken a more moderate approach, which means we may not be seeing those declines but we didn’t see the massive peaks in cases many other provinces did either.

But for British Columbians, it also means it’s been four long months of “moderate” social gathering restrictions with no end in sight.
With pandemic fatigue setting in, and the threat of variants looming, Colijn wonders if maybe there’s a better way moving forward.

“I think people would actually be happier to shut down more strictly for four weeks but then know what they’re doing,” she said.  “To me, that idea of a strategic plan that isn’t ‘let’s do this indefinitely’ might be more palatable to people.”

The current social gathering restrictions have no end date.

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix are scheduled to hold their next public briefing on Thursday at 1 p.m.

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April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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