Good news came from health officials yesterday: one specific type of COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by Health Canada and a limited amount will be available in B.C. next week. Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry delivered the details Wednesday, including when the vaccine will be available, and which groups will be offered immunization first.
About 4,000 doses of the vaccine will be available next week at two urban locations (one in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and one in Fraser Health region). These doses will go to the most vulnerable residents and health care workers in long-term care, assisted living facilities, and critical care areas such as emergency departments, ICUs and COVID-19 units.
By January more vaccines are expected to be available, though still only in limited numbers. Next in line to access the vaccine will be people over the age of 80, higher-risk communities, such as those living in shelters, and remote and isolated First Nations communities and Indigenous peoples.
By late March-April it is expected that the province will have enough vaccine for all other front-line workers, including other health care workers, police, fire, first responders, and people who work in essential services.
While the timelines are not certain yet, by summer/fall enough vaccine (including different types of vaccine) is expected to be available for anyone who wishes to be immunized.
Though this is good news, it will take many months in 2021 to vaccinate enough people to create widespread community immunity and eliminate the pandemic. It is not yet time to relax. We will likely not see any vaccination in Powell River until the new year, and even then it will be very limited initially.
It is important that we all continue to take layered precautions and follow restrictions to protect ourselves and one another. Over the holidays, this means limiting our indoor social time to immediate household members only. It also means travelling (or hosting travellers) only for essential reasons. If these guidelines are not followed, we are likely to see an even greater surge of cases both locally and elsewhere.
We will share more information, including details around vaccine technology, local vaccination plans and timelines in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
For more details about the vaccine, how it was developed, safety and more visit https://globalnews.ca/news/6651652/watch-b-c-s-daily-coronavirus-update-with-dr-bonnie-henry/