Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. turns to second doses of COVID-19 vaccine as supplies slow

Pfizer shipments down until February, to be made up in March

B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization program shifts to second doses this week, as priority health care workers reach the 35-day mark since their first dose and provincial health authorities deal with an expected three-week reduction in shipments of Pfizer vaccine.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry extended the period between first and second doses to 35 days based on encouraging results from first doses, and the need to protect long-term care employees and residents as well as front-line hospital staff. Then last week the federal government announced a reduction in shipments from Pfizer into Canada as it revamps its production in an effort to keep up with global demand.

Henry said Monday the reduced shipments are expected to continue into February, but they will be made up once production resumes. Health authorities are to begin reporting first and second dose deliveries this week.

“Although the supply comes back up again very quickly, next week is where we’ll be most affected,” Henry said in a briefing Jan. 18. “We received those numbers over the weekend and we know that this delay will temporarily slow our delivery into the next phase of at-risk people, particularly into other parts of our hospital system.”

RELATED: No Pfizer vaccines arriving in Canada next week

RELATED: Vaccine advised for those who’ve had COVID-19

High-priority groups, including front-line health care workers, senior care home residents and those waiting for a space in long-term care, and 25,000 residents of remote and Indigenous communities, are receiving vaccinations in January and February.

Next in line are community-based seniors aged 80 and up (65 and up for Indigenous seniors), for a total of about 260,000 people. Also in this priority group are people in shelters or correctional facilities and adults in mental health residential care.

With increased volume of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines starting in March, Health Canada is expected to approve other vaccines from AstraZeneca and Janssen soon, allowing a mass vaccination program to begin in descending five-year age groups after people aged 80 and older have been vaccinated.

“Although today we have a slight delay, we are still on track to protect those most vulnerable by the end of March and starting in April to expand dramatically the access to vaccine to people across the province to protect us all,” Henry said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Interior Health reported 43 new COVID-19 cases in the region Feb. 23, 2021 and no additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
43 new cases of COVID reported in Interior Health

No new deaths, Williams Lake outbreak over

Black Press file photo.
Interior Health: 6 new deaths and 67 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend

An outbreak has been declared at Kelowna General Hospital

Janet (left) and Karen Johnson. (Shelley Woods Boden/Facebook)
Petition to keep Wells Gray murderer in jail garners 39K signatures and counting

Family and friends compiling victim impact statements to keep David Ennis behind bars.

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional death in last day

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Most Read