Around one quarter of British Columbians, including 320,000 frontline workers, could be vaccinated by the end of next month, according to Dr. Penny Ballem, head of B.C.’s immunization program.
Starting in April, workers, including first responders, K-12 education staff, childcare workers, processing and manufacturing plant workers, grocery store employees and correctional facility staff will begin to receive vaccines.
“Many of these people have come to work throughout this pandemic, continuing to teach and care for our children, stock the shelves of our local grocery store and keep our communities safe. By immunizing these front-line workers, we are making workplaces and communities throughout our province safer,” said Premier John Horgan.
Public health and WorkSafeBC identified the highest risk categories of worksites through the COVID-19 Workplace Task Group, according to Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer.
Starting March 20, seniors over 79 and Indigenous people over 55 will be able to book a vaccine appointment.
“On our current age-based trajectory, everyone who is eligible for a vaccine will have access to a vaccine before July 1, 2021. This is encouraging news for all of us,” said Henry.
B.C. will receive about 900,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses between March 12 and April 18, to be administered at 198 sites, according to Ballem. The province will receive 340,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s fridge stable vaccine, which will administered to frontline workers. Ballem said the province is currently giving about 20,000 shots each day.
“The additional supply of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine allows us to strategically target immunizations to maximize the protection of our province,” said Henry.
Island Health reported 30 new COVID-19 cases today, bringing the total number of active cases to 197. That number includes 97 in the central island region, up five in the last 24 hours, in addition to 72 in the south and 28 in the north. No additional deaths were reported.
Nine people are hospitalized with the virus and three are in ICU, according to the B.C. government’s COVID-19 dashboard. There were 839 COVID-19 tests completed in the past 24 hours.
B.C. recorded 622 new COVID-19 cases and eight deaths over the last 24 hours. There are 4,941 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, including 286 people in hospital, including 85 in critical care.
The province has administered 465,584 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, including 87,120 second doses, according a joint statement by Henry and Adrian Dix, minister of health.
People over 81 can now book their vaccine appointment and tomorrow people 80 and up will be able to book their shots, the provincial government said.
There are 9,620 people under active public health monitoring in B.C. and 530 more people have recovered from the virus, bringing the total to 83,613, according to the province.