B.C. COVID-19 immunizations still on track for end of March: top doctor

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VICTORIA — British Columbia's top doctor says production delays for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are a temporary setback that will slow down the delivery of first doses in the province over the next few weeks.

But Dr. Bonnie Henry says B.C. is still on track to vaccinate its most vulnerable residents by the end of March, ahead of a significant expansion of the province's immunization program in April.

She says a shortfall of about 60,000 doses of vaccine should be made up in March.

B.C. has recorded 1,330 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday, including 301 in the last 24 hours — the lowest single-day infection rate in more than two months.

The death toll from the illness rose to 1,078 as 31 more people died in the same three-day period.

The number of active cases dipped to 4,326, including 343 in hospital.

Henry says about 80 per cent of long-term care residents in the hard-hit Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health regions have received their first doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with more being delivered across the province.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press