Vaccination rates in B.C. continue to rise, with 71.8 per cent of adults having received a dose as of today.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said while the province is working to make sure people get the same type of vaccine for their first and second dose, there have been some supply issues with the Moderna vaccine. More is coming by the end of this month, but this means some people may be offered Pfizer instead for their second dose.
“We are doing our best in every clinic to make sure that if you received Moderna, that you’ll have it available to you. But, there will be some instances where it may not be available. In that case, you will be offered Pfizer as an alternative to the Moderna for your second dose. You can choose to re-book later in June when more Moderna is available, but I would encourage everyone to take the vaccine that you are offered when you go in for your second dose, and you can be reassured that we have looked at this evidence now with millions of people, it is safe and effective,” said Henry.
For those who received the AstraZeneca vaccine as their first dose—nearly 280,000 people across B.C.—there will be a choice for the second dose. After at least eight weeks, those people can receive either a second AstraZeneca vaccine through the same pharmacy that delivered their first dose, or an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) through the mass clinics across the province.
While invitations will start to go out Monday to those people, Henry said there is some evidence that waiting 12 to 13 weeks to receive a second dose is “somewhat better” following a first dose with AstraZeneca. People should not contact pharmacies themselves, but should wait to be contacted.
“The evidence that we have (shows) that mixing and matching of different types of vaccines—so the viral vector vaccine that AstraZeneca is with messenger RNA vaccines, either Pfizer or Moderna—is also now safe and effective,” said Henry. “And we know about the safety from data from the U.K. as well as the effectiveness from studies and use in places like Germany, Spain, etcetera.”
Henry also reported 199 new cases of COVID-19 today, three of which are epidemiologically linked. Since the pandemic began, B.C. has recorded 144,866 cases.
Of the new cases, 68 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond), 89 in the Fraser Health region, two in the Island Health region, 34 in the Interior Health region and six in the Northern Health region.
The latest local data shows there were 54 new cases in Richmond between May 23 and 29.
There are 2,563 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and 224 of those people are hospitalized, 62 of whom are in intensive care. The last two figures are significantly lower than yesterday’s count—hospitalizations are down by 22 and intensive care admissions by eight.
Sadly, there were two new virus-related deaths reported today, bringing that total to 1,709. Both of the people who died were in their 60s.
Locally, active outbreaks continue at Richmond Lions Manor-Bridgeport care home and Richmond Hospital. Elsewhere in the province, four other long-term care, assisted living and independent facilities have active outbreaks.
For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and to find a testing centre near you: http://www.bccdc.ca/ or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.
Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel