B.C.’s top doctor says vaccine rollout will ramp up in coming months

Dr. Bonnie Henry says goal is to inoculate 150,000 by end of February

Health officials have announced how COVID-19 vaccinations will take place in British Columbia.

The province continues to see the further spread of COVID-19 – including a confirmed case of a more contagious COVID-19 variant on Vancouver Island. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says it’s still going to be an uphill battle despite the rollout of vaccines.

“We now have 6,823 active cases across British Columbia of whom 351 people are in hospital, 76 of whom are in critical care or ICU additionally we have 8,785 people under active public health monitoring,” said Henry in an update.

In early December, B.C. received some of the doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and high-risk members of the population were given those immunizations.

The Moderna vaccine was approved mid-December and those vaccines have also started to be distributed.

The goal is to vaccinate about 150,000 individuals by the end of February, including 83,000 doses to long-term care and assisted living residents and staff, 2,000 doses for those awaiting placement in a long-term care home, 8,000 doses for essential visitors, 30,000 doses for hospital health-care staff, paramedics and public health workers, and 25,000 doses for remote and isolated First Nations communities.

“There are many months left to go in this we are constrained by logistics and also how much vaccine we are receiving, but we are optimistic and we are focused intensely on making sure we protect people in long-term care and assisted living as quickly as we possibly can and of course protect those most at risk in our communities.”

Henry says the rollout for the general population is expected in the spring but still urges caution.

“I want to remind people that our orders are still in place and we will be looking at what we need to do to get us through this next few months as we are ramping up our immunization program and able to protect more people in our community.”

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