British Columbia opens AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for 55- to 65-year-olds, as province registers 840 new cases

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British Columbia opens AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for 55- to 65-year-olds, as province registers 840 new cases


British Columbia health officials announced 840 new cases of COVID-19 but no additional deaths on Tuesday.
That same afternoon, the province also announced that people aged 55 to 65 living in the Lower Mainland can sign up for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine on Wednesday.

In a statement, Health Minister Adrian Dix said anyone in the Vancouver Coast and Fraser Health regions in this age range can call their local pharmacy to make an immunization appointment.

Walk-in service may also be an option at over 150 participating pharmacies. People should bring their personal health number with them.

The announcement comes a day after British Columbia health officials suspended use of AstraZeneca vaccines in people under the age of 55 in response to European reports of rare but potentially fatal blood clots.

Similar actions are being taken across Canada in response to recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).

Health officials have said the break provides an opportunity to use those doses to protect people at higher risk of COVID-19 earlier.

Health workers deliver Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines at a drive-thru clinic in Burnaby’s Central Park. (Ben Nelms / CBC)

“We know that thanks to the millions of doses used around the world, and particularly in the UK, it is very effective and the benefits for people over 55 far outweigh the very real risks of getting it. COVID-19, ”said Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer. in a report.

“I encourage everyone in the Lower Mainland between the ages of 55 and 65 to receive their safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine today. ”

Active cases remain high

Provincial health officer Dr Bonnie Henry and Dix also updated the province’s COVID-19 figures on Tuesday, bringing the number of inpatients to 312 people, including 78 in intensive care.

There are currently 7,062 active cases of the coronavirus in the province – the highest number since January 3 – with a public health follow-up of 11,164 people across British Columbia who are isolated due to exposure to COVID – 19.

A total of 90,401 people who tested positive for the virus have recovered, while 1,455 people in British Columbia have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

So far, 724,193 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, of which 87,319 are second doses.

British Columbia recorded 320 new cases associated with variants of concern on Tuesday, bringing the total number of variant cases in the province to 2,553. Of those, 313 are active cases.

New restrictions

On Monday, the province recorded 2,518 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, with a record 936 on Saturday.

To stop the growing transmission, Henry announced new restrictions that are in effect until at least April 19.

They include the closure of all indoor restaurants, the suspension of indoor group fitness classes for adults, as well as the temporary closure of the Whistler-Blackcomb Ski Resort.

Henry also introduced new guidelines for school masks for elementary school children on Monday to help curb the increase in cases. The new guidelines now recommend masks for all grade 4 students in schools across the province.

Henry was joined by Prime Minister John Horgan, who singled out British Columbians aged 20 to 39 as the age cohort did not pay enough attention to COVID-19 public health orders.

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