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B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccine supply temporarily ‘dramatically reduced’ – News 1130

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VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — B.C. will be working with an “extremely limited” supply of COVID-19 vaccine for a short period of time, according to the provincial health officer.

Dr. Bonnie Heny explained Monday that the province received further information that the number of doses it thought it was receiving was “dramatically reduced.”

“We, right now, do not know how much, if any, vaccine we’ll be receiving the following two weeks in February,” she said.

RELATED: B.C. to use age as determining factor for remaining vaccine rollout

Because of the “extremely limited” supply, Henry said B.C. is temporarily delaying the second dose to a maximum of 42 days after the first.

“This means we can use what little supply we have right now to finish our long-term care home immunizations and to address the outbreaks that are happening in our hospitals and our communities,” she added.

Before these supply issues, the second dose was being given within  35 days from the first in B.C.

Shipments of the vaccine from Pfizer have been impacted due to upgrades at its facilities, so there aren’t any deliveries coming this week. It’s also a week Moderna vaccines aren’t arriving in B.C.

Henry assured the province will make up for the doses and provide the second shot to everyone who needs it “as soon as we possibly can.”

To date, 119,850 doses of the vaccine have been given to British Columbians.

This comes as the province reported 26 people died from the coronavirus over the weekend and 1,344 more people tested positive.

There is a COVID-19 outbreak at Nanaimo Regional General hospital, but Henry noted 11 outbreaks in other health and long-term care facilities are over.

“This brings a moment of happiness to us all and relief for many of the care providers and the families with loved ones in these facilities, and I think, it is a reflection, as well, of how important the immunization program that we’ve had in long-term care over these last few weeks is, and the difference that is going to make and continues to make.”

There are 29 active outbreaks in healthcare, and Henry noted the community outbreak at the Surrey Emergency Response Centre.

As for variants, Henry confirmed five cases of the one connected to the U.K. in the province, which were all either linked to travel or a close contact with a traveller.

There are three cases of the South African variant, all transmitted in the community.

“So they were not linked to travel, which is, of course, something we are concerned about,” Henry added.

Meanwhile, Henry reported six cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), a rare syndrome related to COVID-19. The infected range from one to 15 years old and they have all either fully recovered or are recovering.

Nineteen other cases of children with symptoms of COVID-19 were investigated, but none of those turned out to be the virus.

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These 9 Ontario regions are now booking COVID-19 vaccinations for seniors – parrysound.com

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Montreal’s Olympic Stadium opens to long lines as Canada plays catch-up on jabs

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MONTREAL (Reuters) – As COVID-19 vaccinations ramp-up in Canada, one of the country’s largest stadiums is taking in a long line of elderly, while provinces enlist dentists, midwives and chiropractors to help meet the expected rush for jabs.

A slow rollout of vaccines has recently dented Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s popularity, with the lack of domestic production being blamed for Canada trailing many other developed nations in its vaccination drive.

Montreal’s cavernous Olympic Stadium, which once hosted young athletes during the 1976 summer games, on Monday saw thousands of octogenarians donning folding chairs and canes as they waited in a snaking line for jabs.

Tony Caccese said he had already waited more than an hour to get his 85-year-old mother vaccinated, as the two faced a longer line-up than during the Montreal summer games he attended as an 18-year-old.

“I’ve been to many baseball games, football games, soccer games, concerts, and I’ve never waited this long in a line-up,” Caccese said.

About 3,000 are expected to be inoculated on Monday at the stadium nicknamed the Big O, which was equipped with wheelchairs and golf carts to help those unable to walk, organizers said.

“There are people who are coming out of their home for the first time since the start of the pandemic,” said Caroline St-Denis, director of the vaccination campaign at the stadium.

Canada’s vaccine supplies are expected to get a boost after health regulator on Friday approved AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, becoming the third shot to be available to Canadians.

That will help as provinces begin targeting elderly residents beyond those living at the long-term care facilities which accounted for the majority of COVID-19 deaths during the first wave.

With less than 4% of the population inoculated so far, the pace of Canada’s slow campaign has caused frustration, resulting in at least two senior corporate executives resigning for trying to jump the vaccine queue.

“We are going to have everyone vaccinated probably by the end of the summer,” Trudeau told NBC News’s Meet the Press on Sunday.

OVERWHELMED

In Manitoba, which plans to enlist chiropractors, massage therapists and optometrists, more than 300 dentists, or about 40% of registered dentists in the province, have joined the vaccination effort, said Dr. Marc Mollot, past president of the Manitoba Dental Association.

The western province of Alberta has started using pharmacies to administer vaccines to people aged 75 and over, but the province’s health services website initially crashed after more than 150,000 people logged on.

“It’s been 10 long months in this pandemic, people’s nerves are worn raw by nearly a year of restrictions, a year of uncertainty, frustration, stress and anxiety,” Alberta health minister Tyler Shandro told reporters last week.

While the country’s most populous province Ontario will not launch a centralized booking system until March 15, some public health units have already started booking elderly patients.

Quebec’s campaign at the stadium gets underway during the province’s spring break, amid fears that a variant of the novel coronavirus could spread during the holiday.

The Quebec government is wrestling with plans to bring elderly residents to inoculation sites like the stadium since the Pfizer vaccine’s cold storage requirements make it impossible to transport the vaccine to individual homes.

Quebec has also reached agreements with pharmacists and businesses to expand inoculations in the coming months.

British Columbia said on Monday that seniors over 80 and indigenous people over 65 would be able to book appointments for vaccinations in the coming weeks. The province issued orders last week allowing health care workers like dentists and midwives to administer vaccines.

“Vaccines are our ticket out of the pandemic,” Alberta health minister Shandro said.

(Reporting By Allison Lampert and Christinne Muschi in Montreal. Additional reporting by Nia Williams in Calgary, Rod Nickel in Manitoba, Moira Warburton and Allison Martell in Toronto; Editing by Denny Thomas and Nick Zieminski)

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Everyone in B.C. will be able to get a 1st dose of coronavirus vaccine by end of July: health officials – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
Health officials in British Columbia now predict that everyone in the province will be able to get a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of July.

The updated projection was announced Monday, as officials revealed details on Phase 2 of B.C.’s vaccination plan.

The latest data, given the acquisition of a third vaccine and a just-extended timeframe between when the first and second dose are given, suggests everyone who wants the shot will be able to get their first dose by mid- to late July.

The earlier plan suggested the final groups to be eligible would not be able to be vaccinated until at least September.

However, on Monday it was announced that those who get the first dose can wait longer than initially thought – as long as four months – to get the second vaccine.

This expanded timeframe will allow more people to get their first shot.

Speaking at a news conference in Victoria, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said she did not yet have a date for when residents in the final phases of the plan could expect a second dose.

Henry said the province would shift its focus to second doses in July, and that all the timeframes will need a bit of “rejigging.”

More details are expected to be given later on.

The province’s first phase of its plan – vaccinating residents of B.C.’s long-term care homes, assisted living facilities and remote Indigenous communities, as well as some health-care workers and others – is well underway.

On Monday, officials announced the start of Phase 2, during which first doses of the vaccine will be given to those living and working in independent living centres and seniors’ supportive housing, as well as seniors aged 65 and older. Read more here, including how to make an appointment

Phase 3 is expected to begin in mid-April, and will include an online registration and booking system. Residents of B.C. aged 60 and up will be able to make vaccine appointments online when this system launches.

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