British Columbia’s top doctor says every regional health authority has received doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Bonnie Henry says vaccine deliveries last week were concentrated in the Lower Mainland, where case counts and transmission rates are highest.
But she says B.C.’s immunization campaign is set to roll out on Vancouver Island, and in the Northern and Interior health regions, which have also seen rising cases.
The vaccine must be stored at ultra-low temperatures and Henry says so far, Pfizer requires doses to be administered at points of arrival, so people receiving it in coming days will have to travel to a central location.
Henry says she’s looking forward to approval from the company to allow 975-dose trays of the vaccine to be broken up and delivered throughout communities and in particular to long-term care homes.
B.C. announced 1,667 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday over a three-day period, as well as 41 additional deaths, pushing the death toll to 765.
The curve of the outbreak is beginning to level off amid ongoing public health rules, says Henry, but transmission rates are still high and hundreds of new cases are being confirmed each day.
Henry says nine sites across B.C. received vaccine this week.
“It’s still a very limited amount of vaccine,” Henry told a news conference on Monday. “We’re only getting about 30 trays between now and the first week of January, so it is a small amount to make sure that the delivery system works, that all of the things are in place for the clinics to get up and running.”
She said 3,644 people, mostly health workers, received the shot last week.
“We are now in the place of planning for how we will get to every single community across British Columbia.”
The Canadian Press