BC will receive its very first delivery of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine next week.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed in Monday’s COVID-19 update that the availability of the vaccine is “just days away now.”
Henry emphasized that this will be a small start to the larger roll-out expected to happen in the coming months.
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The priority will be to protect the most vulnerable British Columbians, which includes seniors and healthcare workers.
She noted that there will not be enough of the vaccine available at first to make a significant impact on community transmissions and public health and safety measures will still need to be followed.
“But we will be able to protect those people who are more likely to end up in the hospital, who are more likely to die from this virus, and also to protect our healthcare system by ensuring that people who are at risk in our healthcare system are protected too,” she said.
“That light at the end of the tunnel is there and we need to need to do our piece to keep our rates low so that we prevent people from dying until we have that protection for them here and in our communities across the province.”
The Pfizer vaccine needs to be kept at a temperature of -80°C, and next week, officials will be taking part in a trial run of receiving specialized containers from the company in order to get a better idea of how to “safely handle these very fragile vaccines,” said Henry.
This week, Henry says she will join Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix, and Dr. Ross Brown, to provide a full briefing about BC’s vaccine distribution plan.
Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed Pfizer will begin early delivery of their vaccine candidate, providing up to 249,000 of their initial doses in December. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is still pending Health Canada approval.