Photo: Government of British Columbia Flickr
The first COVID-19 vaccination was administered in British Columbia on Tuesday as people working in long-term care facilities and intensive care units become the first people to participate in the province’s vaccination program.
Health Minister Adrian Dix confirmed the immunization with a photo on his Twitter account, saying it represented “a day of hope for all of us” in British Columbia.
“Among the very first people to receive it are those who care for and support the elderly in British Columbia; by getting vaccinated, they help protect those most vulnerable to # COVID19 and help us all take one more step toward ending this pandemic.
Provincial health officer Dr Bonnie Henry said last week that a first shipment of 4,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be available at two clinics in areas covered by health authorities in Vancouver Coastal and Fraser, before vaccination was finally extended to 30 sites.
Henry refused to reveal the locations of the clinics.
Last week, she said the government had credible information from national and international sources that people were targeting the vaccines.
Other provinces have announced the arrival of vaccines, notably in Ontario, where a Toronto nursing home worker was immunized live on television.
The Canadian Press was asked to photograph the first vaccination in British Columbia, but declined due to the terms of a non-disclosure agreement covering the event.
In a statement, the health ministry said the level of secrecy surrounding vaccinations was necessary.
“British Columbia is taking every precaution to ensure that our vaccine supply is not tampered with or compromised and the confidentiality of vaccination locations is one of them,” he said.
Henry noted that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must also be stored at ultra-low temperatures and this limits access.
“So we’re going to be a little wary from the start and make sure we’re able to best protect the precious vaccine we have and deliver it safely to people.