Dr. Henry "confident" COVID-19 vaccine will be widely available in BC "this time next year"

Nov 16 2020, 5:08 pm

Following recent announcements of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate from both Pfizer and Moderna, BC’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said she’s “confident” that a COVID-19 vaccine will be available for anybody in British Columbia “by this time next year.”

Henry made the comments during a press conference on Monday after she was asked what a timeline around the distribution of a vaccine might look like in the province.

“It’s very exciting to hear that there might be two vaccines available very soon – within weeks, months,” she said. “We are preparing across the country… to receive vaccine here in Canada, and what we are planning for is early next year to be able to start distributing that vaccine.”

As part of this plan, Henry said health officials “have guidance that has come out, based on a lot of work that has been done over the last year, based on an ethical framework that we’ve put together as part of our national pandemic planning, and about who are the target populations who will benefit most from vaccine.”

BC health officials, she continued, are “strongly supportive of those priority population groups being first in line for the vaccine. We’ve also developed some common principals for how vaccine will roll out and we’re working on all of those details.”

And while she noted that this process is “logistically challenging,” Henry said that once the protocol is in place about how everything’s going to work, I am confident that by this time next year we’ll have vaccines available for anybody in British Columbia.”

New three-day record high number of cases

Henry’s comments come the same day that BC health officials announced a new, three-day, record high of 1,959 COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 22,944.

Henry said there were 654 cases reported from Friday to Saturday, 659 from Saturday to Sunday, and 646 from Sunday to Monday.

Broken down by health region, this equates to 455 new cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,361 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 41 new cases in the Island Health region, 87 new cases in the Interior Health region, 14 new cases in the Northern Health region, and one new case from a person who resides outside of Canada.

There were also nine more deaths over the weekend – the highest recorded number in the province over three days, bringing the death toll to 299.

There are currently 6,279 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 10,928 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases.

Currently, 181 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, 57 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

There have been 11 new healthcare facility outbreaks, and two new community outbreaks, as well.

Henry said that 16,087 individuals who tested positive have now recovered.

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