A nurse holds a phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, as the U.K. health authorities rolled out a national mass vaccination program. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

A nurse holds a phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, as the U.K. health authorities rolled out a national mass vaccination program. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

B.C. COVID-19 vaccinations reach nearly 12,000 people

Moderna vaccines arrive, remote areas a priority

B.C. has received its first shipments of the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19, with nearly 12,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine delivered to front-line health care workers and seniors in care.

The Moderna vaccines require less low-temperature storage and will be prioritized for remote regions in B.C.’s North, Interior and parts of Vancouver Island, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Dec. 29. Both require two doses over several weeks to reach their highest effectiveness.

Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix reported five days of declining diagnosed cases over the Christmas period, and urged people to follow the current public health order banning in-home gatherings for New Year’s Eve and the remainder of the holiday season.

Dix said all the Pfizer vaccine B.C. has will be administered as first doses, ramping up to 20,000 by the third week of the program. Training for delivery was carried out over the weekend following Christmas.

RELATED: B.C. COVID-19 cases declining, but 74 more deaths

RELATED: Tahltan among remote communities getting vaccine

Henry said there have been two allergic reactions so far to the Pfizer vaccine, both health care employees who have been treated and recovered.

“This is not unexpected given what we have learned about the messenger RNA vaccines, and what we’ve seen in other jurisdictions,” Henry said.

The health ministry has identified several remote Indigenous communities where the Moderna vaccines will be administered first. Henry noted that both of the vaccines now approved for use in Canada are “fussy” and require substantial training to administer. They were developed in record time by using “messenger RNA” that induces a cell response to defend against the identified virus.

A new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that was first identified in Britain has been detected in one case of a traveller to Vancouver Island, who developed symptoms while in federally-mandated 14-day quarantine, Henry said. British results show the new strain is more easily transmitted, but there is no evidence it causes more severe illness or is resistant to vaccines, she said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Members of the BC RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) is on route to Drummond Park opposite of Fulford Habour on Saltspring Island after the discovery of a suspicious cylindrical-shaped device. (Google/Screencap)
Bomb disposal unit en route to Salt Spring Island after discovery of suspicious device in park

Police say a resident discovered the device Wednesday morning in Drummond Park opposite BC Ferries terminal

Victoria police arrested a man after at least 14 downtown locations were damaged Jan. 20. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Victoria glass smashing suspect believed to be water taxi thief

Man arrested for damaging at least 14 downtown locations

Saanich has awarded the tender for a youth bike skills park planned for the lot next to the George Tripp BC Hydro Substation off Lochside Drive to Bike Track Ltd. for $242,000. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich selects company to build youth bike skills track at Tripp Station Park

More than $240,000 allotted for Bike Track Ltd. to design bike park

West Shore RCMP seized a stolen fish finder and drugs after searching a Colwood home Jan. 9. (Black Press Media file photo)
Search of Colwood home reveals stolen fish finder, drug trafficking evidence

West Shore RCMP suspect a 46-year-old woman is responsible

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
One in five tests in Fernie area coming back positive: doctor

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
From the “You can’t make this stuff up” file – stories from the BC CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

(Thesendboys/Instagram)
Video of man doing backflip off Vancouver bridge draws police condemnation

Group says in Instagram story that they ‘don’t do it for the clout’

The RCMP are reminding drivers to find alternative ways home if they have consumed anything that impairs their ability to drive. (Black Press file photo)
Impaired Island driver flees road check twice on the same night

The officer issued the driver numerous violation tickets, and a four-month driving suspension

Most Read