On Tuesday afternoon, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine had begun arriving in British Columbia.
The vaccine was approved for use by Health Canada on December 23, making it the second available vaccine in the country. During Tuesday’s live COVID-19 update, Henry explained that some of the vaccine had begun to arrive in the province, with more expected over the coming days.
“As soon as it arrives, it will be going to a number of remote and isolated First Nations communities that have been identified,” Henry explained.
She added that health officials have been working diligently to make sure that all of the logistics, training, and supplies are in place to efficiently provide vaccines in those communities.
The Moderna vaccine will also be used to provide immunization to small long-term care homes that are in smaller communities across the North, Interior, and Island health region.
Henry added that as of late last week, health officials became able to move the Pfizer vaccine. It is now being used to immunize residents of long-term care homes mainly in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health region as well as the North and the Interior.
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Moderna’s vaccine has “different storage and handling requirements” compared to the Pfizer vaccine, meaning it can be distributed to isolated and remote communities, including the territories.
The vaccine is given by injection (0.5 mL) into the muscle of the arm. For the vaccine to be most effective, two doses are required, spaced out 28 days apart.
Based on studies in roughly 30,000 participants, Health Canada says the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was 94.1% effective in preventing the virus two weeks after the second dose meaning people may not be fully protected against coronavirus until at least 14 days after the second dose.
With files from Ty Jadah