Everything you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines in BC
By Jessica Berget, Assistant Editor
Bonnie Henry adds that this vaccine has an advantage over the other three as this vaccine only requires one dose and doesn’t have to be stored in super cold temperatures so they can be held in fridges.
With anyone over the age of 18 now able to register for their first vaccine dose, now is the best time to give an update on the vaccine rollout in BC.
As of April 26, in BC 1.6-million vaccine doses have been administered and less than two percent of the BC population (89,035 people) has been inoculated. In Canada, more than 10 million doses have been administered and as of April 16, the Government of Canada health website states that 529 cases of “serious adverse event” and 158 “new adverse event” following immunization have been reported.
The fourth approved vaccine in Canada, Johnson & Johnson, will be arriving in BC by next week despite the rare reports of blood clots. Health Canada says they will update the product label on the vaccine to warn people about the possible signs of adverse side effects after some cases came to light of blood clots linked to the vaccine in the US. Other possible causes of blood clots include birth control, the coronavirus itself, pregnancy, and smoking. In the same vein, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated recommendations for the AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to those over age 30 but their advice only serves as a recommendation to provincial health officers who ultimately decide on how the vaccine is given. BC originally halted the rollout of the vaccine for people under 55 years but has since given doses to people over 40.
Bonnie Henry says the federal government is set to receive 300,000 doses of the J&J vaccine by the end of the week. She adds that this vaccine has an advantage over the other three as this vaccine only requires one dose and doesn’t have to be stored in super cold temperatures so they can be held in fridges. “We don’t yet know if it makes a difference for somebody to receive that second dose at 21 weeks or 21 days or 28 days or at six months or four months or three months,” Henry said. “We will provide everybody with their second dose and as quickly as we possibly can.”
Canada is also set to receive more than one million doses of Pfizer and 650,000 of Moderna but is not scheduled to receive the Astra-Zeneca vaccine which has been in heavy demand in pharmacies since the eligible age was dropped to 40 years and up. Henry also says she is considering saving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine for people who might not be able to get two separate doses.
While many British Columbians are receiving their first dose of the vaccine, many feel the rollout has been shoddy work. In Victoria, Jason Cridge of Cridge Family Pharmacy is speaking up on the distribution. “The vaccine distribution so far has been very patchy and very uneven,” he said. “Entire geographies have been left out. We have stories in Victoria where some stores have received 1000 vaccines and others no vaccines. There’s no real rhyme or reason as to why that’s happened.”
Vancouver residents also trying to get their vaccines are frustrated with the booking system “I’m on six or seven wait lists,” said Jason Motz in a CTV News article. “It’s exhausting. It’s frustrating, like everything else about COVID.” He also says he is frustrated that the government encourages people to get a vaccine when there are no longer any available.