Priority groups in Trail breathed a sigh of relief when vaccines arrived last week.
Trail saw its first batches of the Moderna vaccine arrive on Friday, with residents and staff of long-term care homes such as Columbia View Lodge receiving the first doses.
“The most important thing of note to share is that vaccine is arriving, and will continue to arrive, to vaccinate the phase one priority populations,” said Karl Hardt, communications lead at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital.
“After that, eligibility expands to the next groups and so forth.”
The initial roll-out of the Moderna vaccine in the West Kootenay came at the end of December in Nelson, Kaslo, New Denver and Grand Forks. Also part of it were the East Kootenay communities of Creston, Fernie and Invermere.
The second roll-out arrived in Kootenay Boundary communities at the end of last week, with additional Moderna immunizations for Trail, Castlegar, and Nakusp.
“More vaccine is anticipated over the next few weeks as we continue to ramp up our campaign in the Kootenay Boundary and across Interior Health,” said Hardt.
Second doses of the vaccine are expected to be administered 35 days after the first dose, according to the BC Vaccination Plan 2021.
From December to February, vaccines first go to priority groups which include: residents and staff at long term care and assisted living residences; individuals in hospital or community assessed and awaiting a long term care placement; essential visitors in long term care and assisted living; paramedics; and health-care workers providing front line hospital care in ICUs, medical and surgical units, emergency departments, and remote First Nation communities.
Pfizer-BioNTech announced delays in delivery to Canada, which will effect supply in B.C.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said the province received the 25,000 doses of the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine it expected last week, but expected a slight reduction in deliveries this week, and half the 50,000 doses for next week.
On Tuesday (Jan. 19), however, Maj. Gen. Dany Fortin, vice president of operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, said this week’s shipment will be 20 per cent less than expected, and that Canada will receive no shipment of Pfizer for the week beginning Jan. 25.
He added that Pfizer is still planning to deliver four million doses of its vaccine by the end of March, as previously promised.
Moderna vaccines are being distributed throughout the province, and additional vaccines such as AstraZeneca and Janssen are expected to be approved in the next few months.
The vaccination plan expects a mass vaccination strategy to be in place by April, based on age stratification in descending five-year populations. As more vaccine supply becomes available and once priority groups have been immunized, vaccination will begin in the wider population.
“In terms of vaccine numbers, the deliveries will continue to arrive on a routine basis and speed up over time,” added Hardt.
Experts advise the vaccine is the best way to protect against COVID-19. In clinical trials, those who received the vaccine were 95 per cent less likely to become sick.
When people get immunized, it helps protect others including those who are unable to get the vaccine.
As of Jan. 16, more than 76,000 people were vaccinated in British Columbia.