People age 30 and older may now receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in British Columbia, starting with hot spots for transmission.
Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a statement on Tuesday the vaccine will be made available across the province as B.C. receives enough doses to add more pharmacy appointments.
“As we receive enough AstraZeneca to add appointments at pharmacies, it will be made available to anyone in the province aged 30 and older,” reads the statement.
“We know demand for the AstraZeneca vaccine is high in many areas. Unfortunately, available supply through pharmacies in some regions will continue to be limited until additional supplies come in.”
Certain regions, including Vancouver Island, ran out of the AstraZeneca vaccine last week after the age was lowered to include anyone 40 and over.
Dix admitted Vancouver Island hasn’t benefitted as much from AstraZeneca supply as other health authorities, but that’s because due to its relatively older population, the island has been receiving more doses of Pfizer and Moderna for the province’s age-based immunization plan.
Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended last week that the AstraZeneca vaccine may be offered to people 30 and up who don’t want to wait for an approved mRNA vaccine, and if certain other conditions are met.
Those conditions include a benefit-risk analysis, informed consent, and that there would be a substantial delay to receive an mRNA vaccine.
B.C. confirmed 799 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths on Tuesday.
There are now 8,089 active infections in the province and hospitalizations have ticked up to 500, including 164 people in intensive care.
The province’s age-based immunization program is now open to people age 59 and up, while a concurrent program aimed at workers is underway.
B.C. has administered more than 1.6 million doses of three approved COVID-19 vaccines, of which 89,457 are second doses.