B.C. to determine which essential workers will receive Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

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VICTORIA — British Columbia's provincial health officer says the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will be given to first responders and essential workers, but it still needs to be determined which industries will be included.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says the first shipments of the recently approved vaccine are expected in the province next week and the B.C. Immunization Committee is developing a detailed plan of who should be immunized and when.

She says she expects the plan will be finalized around March 18, and in the meantime, the initial supply will be used to address ongoing outbreaks that are leading to rapidly increasing case numbers in some communities.

Henry also apologized to long-term care residents and health-care workers whose second dose of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was suddenly postponed this week after B.C. decided to extend the gap between first and second shots to four months.

She says the decision was not taken lightly, but it did need to be made quite rapidly because the province was approaching a time when tens of thousands of second doses were scheduled to be given.

Henry reported 564 new COVID-19 cases and four additional deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities linked to the virus to 1,376, and she also says two of those who died had variants of concern.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021.

The Canadian Press