British Columbians are proving to be quick on the draw when it comes to booking their vaccines online.
Tuesday’s launch of a province-wide online booking system for COVID-19 vaccine shots secured 160,464 registrations between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., Health Minister Adrian Dix revealed during a briefing in Victoria.
Of those who were eligible to register, a total of 23,827 people were able to book vaccinations.
Prior to this week, the Fraser Health authority was the only one offering an online platform for bookings.
The remaining four health authorities had been booking vaccinations via call centres maintained by Telus Corp.
People born in 1950 and earlier, Indigenous people 18 and older and those considered clinically extremely vulnerable are now able to register for a vaccination by visiting www2.gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated.html.
Eligible British Columbians are also able to book in person at a Service BC location or else phone the new provincial call centre at 1-833-838-2323.
Once someone registers, they receive a confirmation code and will need to await a prompt from health officials via email, text or phone informing them they can book the appointment itself.
Last month’s initial booking rollout proved to be chaotic, with the Telus call centres receiving 1.7 million calls within three hours of phone lines opening up on March 8. Meanwhile, a total of 18,466 vaccine doses have been administered in B.C. over the last 24 hours.
That’s down significantly from the rates of vaccinations last week, when the province was administering about 32,000 doses on some days.
At a rate of 32,000 doses a day, it would take B.C. until at least November to administer both doses to all remaining 4.3 million eligible British Columbians once already-administered doses are taken into account. So far, 87,472 people have received two doses since December.
While the Pfizer Inc., Moderna Inc. and AstraZeneva plc vaccines require two doses for maximum efficacy, the Johnson & Johnson requires only one shot.
Doses of the one-shot vaccine are expected to arrive by the end of the month. And the arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may allow the province to resume its vaccination program for essential workers, according to Henry.
Immunization on the West Coast relies on administering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to the general population based on descending age brackets.
The province had briefly embarked on using the AstraZeneca vaccine in March for essential workers before the program was suspended last week amid growing global concerns the vaccine was linked to a small number of cases of blood clots to have emerged in those who have received a dose.
Instead, the province reallocated those AstraZeneca doses to British Columbians between the ages of 55 and 65 — an age group not considered to be at risk — allowing them to get their jabs outside the normal age-based program.
“As we have the ability, we will jumpstart our worker program once again, so please be patient. We know that there’s always challenges that we have with our immunization program, and the immunizations arriving and we will be getting back to the worker program as soon as we possibly can,” Henry said.
COVID cases in Ontario could spike to 30,000 per day by June
TORONTO (Reuters) – New cases of COVID-19 in Canada‘s most populous province could rise more than six fold, topping 30,000 per day by early June if public health measures are weak and vaccination rates remain flat, a panel of experts advising the province of Ontario said on Friday.
Even if measures to control the virus are “moderate,” the number of patients in Ontario ICUs could reach 2,000 in May, up from 695 on Friday.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario told doctors last week they may soon have to decide who can and cannot receive intensive care.
(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Chris Reese)
Moderna sees shortfall in Britain COVID vaccine shipments, EU deliveries on track
ZURICH (Reuters) – U.S. drugmaker Moderna expects a shortfall in COVID-19 vaccine doses from its European supply chain hitting second-quarter delivery quantities for Britain and Canada, though European Union– and Swiss-bound shipments are on track, a spokesperson said.
The delays, first announced on Friday when Canada said Moderna would be delivering only about half the planned 1.2 million doses by the end of April, come as Switzerland’s Lonza ramps up three new production lines to make active ingredients for Moderna vaccine supplies outside of the United States.
“The trajectory of vaccine manufacturing ramp-up is not linear, and despite best efforts, there is a shortfall in previously estimated doses from the European supply chain,” Moderna said in a statement.
Lonza didn’t immediately return a phone call and email seeking comment on any issues in its production.
(Reporting by John Miller; editing by David Evans)
Moderna says vaccines to Canada to be delayed due to Europe shortfall
(Reuters) -Moderna Inc said on Friday a shortfall in COVID-19 vaccine doses from its European supply chain will lead to a delay in deliveries to some countries including Canada.
She said one to two million doses of the 12.3 million doses scheduled for delivery by Moderna in the second quarter would be delayed until the third.
Moderna officials in Europe did not immediately comment on the reason for the delays or give the total number of countries that would be impacted.
“Vaccine manufacturing is a highly complex process and a number of elements, including human and material resources have factored into this volatility,” said Patricia Gauthier, an executive at Moderna Canada.
Canada has distributed a total of 2.82 million doses of the Moderna vaccine as of April 14 and 12.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in total.
Moderna has been aiming to deliver 700 million to 1 billion doses of the COVID-19 globally this year, including from plants in Europe and the United States.
Swiss contract drug manufacturer Lonza makes active ingredients for Moderna’s vaccine in Visp, but it was still ramping up three new production lines that once operational would be able to produce 300 million shots annually.
The current supply, demand and distribution landscape has led the drugmaker to make adjustments in the expected second-quarter deliveries, Gauthier said.
(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru, Allison Martell in Toronto and John Miller in Zurich; Editing by Arun Koyyur)