Before discussing the province’s vaccine delays, there was some good news from B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer on Friday’s COVID-19 news briefing.
“All long-term care residents and people who care for them have been offered the COVID-19 vaccine in every health authority around the province,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry.
While B.C. was expecting to ramp up vaccinations over the next few weeks, news from European manufacturers is putting a damper on deliveries.
Pfizer announced its deliveries are delayed because the company’s manufacturing plant in Belgium is undergoing a retrofit.
“We are reassured that that will increase again in the third week of February, but that does leave us with a much less supply than we were intending,” said Dr. Henry.
Then came a surprising and unfortunate announcement from Moderna.
“Today we were advised that the supply of Moderna vaccine that is scheduled to arrive next week has also been reduced by about 20 per cent, due to some difficulties at the Moderna processing plants,” said the PHO.
Henry said the news is a disappointment, considering it means a shortfall of 6,000 doses.
Health officials say 10,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine are being made available to isolated and remote First Nations communities in the province.
On Thursday, the province announced that 70,000 fewer doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected this quarter, pushing back the timeline for people aged 75 to 79 to receive their vaccinations by a week.
Dr. Henry said this means the vaccine rollout will be slower than scheduled, but she’s confident that the delays won’t affect phase 1 and phase 2 distribution of the vaccine.
“Once we have vaccine to be able to offer it as we’ve outlined to everybody starting in April,” Henry said.
According to the Province, 129,241 British Columbians have been vaccinated in B.C. as of Friday, January 29, and more than 4,200 people have received their second dose.