Increasing vaccine supply could mean shorter wait for second dose: B.C. health officials

Increasing vaccine supply could mean shorter wait for second dose: B.C. health officials

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says an increasing supply of vaccines this month could mean B.C. residents won’t have to wait four months for a second jab.

In a press conference on Monday, Dr. Henry said more than a million doses of vaccine are expected in May but it’s too early to estimate the possible difference in wait times though the province is on track to provide everyone at least one dose by the end of June.

After a couple of weeks of a shortage, Dix said the province is set to double its number of Pfizer doses this week. B.C. is in line for almost 1.2 million doses of all vaccines this month, and its weekly supplies will rise again in June.

While British Columbians may be in line to receive their second doses earlier than first anticipated, the government continues to emphasize registration.

Only 2.1 million British Columbians have registered so far – which, when you subtract seniors, First Nations communities and clinically vulnerable people who were not required to register online, means between only roughly 55 to 65 per cent of the remaining eligible population has signed up online to get a shot.

Officials believe this isn’t good enough with an expected spike in supply on the way.

“We need it to be significantly higher so that in the month of June, especially, when we start to get more than 300,000 doses of Pfizer a week that we’re getting to everybody,” he said.

If registrations lag, the province can in May use its vaccine supply to target additional front-line workers, first responders, child care workers and school staff.

B.C. reported 2,174 new cases of COVID-19 in the last three days, along with 15 deaths, bringing the provincial death toll to nearly 1,596.

Of the total new cases, 61 were in Island Health.

Henry says that while case numbers are slowly going down, hospitalization rates are still too high and there’s a long way to go before restrictions could be fully loosened.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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