Coronavirus vaccines update
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
The coronavirus pandemic might be coming to an end this fall in Canada, but there is a surge in cases in some countries because of the Delta variant. Although, most of those cases involved unvaccinated individuals. This is happening alongside Canada reopening the border to foreign travelers.
So far, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines (which are mRNA vaccines) have been effective in protecting individuals from getting the virus. The number of cases of blood clots caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine led to many countries prioritizing the mRNA vaccines. Mixing the mRNA vaccines with AstraZeneca as a second dose was approved of after there were studies that come out of the United Kingdom and Spain showing that the effectiveness of mixing vaccines. These studies led Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in her decision of allowing vaccine mixing if BC ran out of specific vaccines. The research also informed Henry when she allowed the mixing of the mRNA vaccines when there was a shortage of the Pfizer vaccine. After the acceleration of vaccines being delivered to Canada, the country had enough vaccines to offer to everyone 12 years old and over.
Canada was able to surpass the United States in the number of people that got their first dose of the vaccine; Canada currently sits at 80 percent, and the United States has not reached their goal of having 70 percent of the country getting their first dose by Independence Day.
In reaction to the Delta variant, Pfizer is considering a third dose; Pfizer approached the FDA for approval on the third dose, and the FDA declined and supported the Center for Disease Control’s opinion on it. Depending on what happens with the pandemic, both health authorities could change their stance on the matter.
In British Columbia, 80 percent of the population got their first dose, and less than 1,000,000 eligible people have not received it yet (mainly from the younger age groups). In response to this, the provincial government announced an initiative on July 27 called Vax for BC to try to vaccine the rest of the province. Unlike the past few months where many individuals would go to a mass vaccination site, these vaccinations would happen in drop-in clinics and no appointment is needed. Anyone who did not get the vaccine or got their second dose yet can go to these clinics which are popping up in community centres, beaches, and even Playland. On August 4, it will be Walk-in Wednesday where 200,000 doses are reserved in these clinics for anyone that needs them. Recently, a slight surge of cases happened in the province—mainly from an outbreak in the Okanagan.