Henry: B.C. kids can expect vaccines before holidays

·3 min read

Note: An earlier version of this story indicated the vaccine dose for children aged five to 11 was 10 milligrams. That should read 10 micrograms.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said today that children aged five to 11 in B.C. will likely be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before the upcoming holiday season.

Henry anticipates recommendations from Health Canada and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization will be issued soon. The vaccine for younger children is a smaller dose of 10 micrograms, tailored for the immune systems of that age group. Parents who have registered their children will be contacted once doses arrive in B.C., although vaccination will not be mandatory for children.

“We know that for the most part children have milder illness, but we can’t tell which are the children necessarily who are going to have more severe illness or are going to develop longer term concerns and complications from COVID-19,” she said.

In response to questions about a new sub-lineage of the Delta variant, known as AY 4.2, Henry said there have been three cases so far, a single-family cluster. Henry said as the virus replicates and transmits between people, it mutates. Evidence from the U.K. shows that the new sub-lineage has slightly increased transmissibility, like other Delta strains seen here in B.C., but so far has not caused reduced vaccine effectiveness.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said 2,885 healthcare workers remain unvaccinated in B.C., making up two per cent of the total number in the province. DIX

Health officials also reported 338 new cases of COVID-19 today. Since the pandemic began, B.C. has recorded 213,358 cases.

Of the new cases, 40 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond), 160 in the Fraser Health region, 42 in the Island Health region, 39 in the Interior Health region, 57 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

There are 3,568 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and 376 of those people are hospitalized, 107 of whom are in intensive care.

To date, 8,452,904 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C.; 4,023,930 of those are second doses.

This means that 91.1 per cent of adults and 90.7 per cent of people aged 12 and older have received their first dose of a vaccine. In addition, 87.4 per cent of adults and 86.8 per cent of those aged 12 and older have received two doses.

Dix says 242,460 third doses have been administered, making up about five per cent of B.C.’s population. Almost 150,000 of those were for people over age 70 (20 per cent of that population).

Henry said about 5,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine arrived this past weekend, and will first be made available to healthcare workers who are currently unable to work due to their vaccination status. However, the province anticipates there will be more than necessary for that group alone, so anyone who is interested can call the Immunize BC call centre (1-833-838-2323) and ask to be added to the waitlist for that vaccine.

Sadly, there was one new virus-related death reported today, bringing that total to 2,274. The person who died lived in the Fraser Health region.

Health authorities reported one new healthcare facility outbreak and declared one over. Active outbreaks continue at 13 long-term care facilities, three assisted or independent living facilities and seven acute care facilities.

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

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