Most British Columbians won't be able to choose their COVID-19 vaccine: Henry

Mar 4 2021, 8:52 am

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says that when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations, most British Columbians won’t have an option in which vaccine they receive.

With the recent approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine and the Serum Institute of India vaccine, a total of four COVID-19 vaccinations have been approved for use by Health Canada.

First responders and essential workers will be given some flexibility and can opt for the AstraZeneca vaccine if they want to be vaccinated sooner. They can also choose to wait for their age group and receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at a later date instead.

Henry says that when the rest of BC’s population is vaccinated between Phases 3 and 4, however, they’ll receive either Pfizer or Moderna — and they “won’t have a choice” between the two.

“If you are in our mass clinics, those are the vaccines we will be using,” says Henry. “And, no, you won’t have a choice between Pfizer and Moderna, you will take one that’s there in front of you, and I encourage everyone to take the one that’s there in front of you.”

Henry wants to be “very clear” and stresses that the vaccine offered is “the best vaccine.”

Health Officials will continue to monitor that the approved vaccines are safe, effective, and provide good protection through a single dose.

BC Health Officials explain that the advantage of the AstraZeneca vaccine is that it’s stable at fridge temperature — meaning that they can be agile and use it in more areas in the community.

“We can use immunization to stop transmission in our communities,” Henry says. “That gets us to the end of the pandemic sooner, so that’s why we’re talking about focussing vaccine on some of the essential workplaces where people can’t work from home where we’ve had outbreaks in the past.”

“And of course, first responders who have been out there on the front lines every day and are at risk because of their job.”

The Ministry of Health tells Daily hive that once more information is available regarding shipments and quantity of the AstraZeneca vaccine, they will provide further updates on “which groups may be able to receive the vaccine.”

Vincent PlanaVincent Plana

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