Health officials to share next steps in BC's COVID-19 vaccination plan today

Mar 18 2021, 8:55 am

Provincial health officials will share an update on British Columbia’s COVID-19 immunization plan on Thursday afternoon.

The announcement is scheduled to take place at 1 pm and will include Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, and Executive Lead of BC’s immunization rollout team Dr. Penny Ballum.

Earlier this week, health officials released a list of several groups who will be first in line to receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

BC’s first AstraZeneca shipment will go to certain essential workers who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection because they live in communal settings, their work environment makes wearing PPE difficult, or there are ongoing clusters and outbreaks.

“Immunizing workers in these settings will not only protect workers, [but] it will also protect the communities around them, including many rural, remote, and Indigenous communities,” Henry said in a news release.

The groups who will receive AstraZeneca first include:

  • Workers in food processing plants, including poultry, fruit, and fish processing sites
  • Agricultural workers who live in congregate accommodations at farms, nurseries, and greenhouses
  • Workers who live in large industrial camps with congregate accommodations for staff
  • People who live in other large congregate living settings for their job that make isolation and quarantine difficult

Henry also reassured that the AstraZeneca vaccine was safe after several European countries suspended its use over blood clot concerns.

Right now, it’s not clear if the vaccine played a role in causing the clots or if they happened to have a clot soon after getting the vaccine, Henry said.

It was also announced on Monday that BC seniors who are over the age of 80 will be able to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments sooner than expected.

BC began its mass immunization strategy this month, allowing seniors 90 and older and Indigenous people 65 and older to book appointments starting March 8.

Thursday’s COVID-19 immunization plan update can be streamed online starting at 1 pm.

With files from Megan Devlin

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