Provincial health officer Dr Bonnie Henry made the announcement at a press conference Thursday, saying everyone in British Columbia should be able to receive a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by now late summer as the province strives to reach Stage 4 of its reopening plan by September. The province still sets the maximum interval between doses at 16 weeks.
So far, Henry said, three million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in British Columbia
Henry said some people who received a first dose of the Moderna vaccine may be given a second dose of Pfizer due to ongoing issues with the Moderna supply. She said guidance is forthcoming for people who have received a first dose of AstraZeneca on which vaccine they should receive for their second dose.
“We don’t have all the information yet, but we expect to have it very soon,” she said. “We will have enough AstraZeneca vaccine to provide second doses to anyone who wants them. “
The second doses are now administered to residents and staff of long-term care homes. Starting Thursday, people aged 70 and over and those who are clinically vulnerable will be asked to make appointments for the second dose.
Henry said anyone who received their vaccine before April 15, ahead of the launch of the province’s online vaccine registration system, should register online to receive an email or SMS notification of their go for the second dose.
British Columbia will also begin allowing indoor religious services for up to 50 people and overnight camps for youth will be permitted this summer, she said.
378 new cases of COVID-19
Health officials also announced 378 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, along with seven other deaths.
The press conference follows Wednesday’s count of 250 cases, bringing the seven-day moving average of new cases to its lowest level since early November. Hospitalizations and the number of intensive care patients in British Columbia are also down from last week.
Due to the drop in cases and the growing number of British Columbians vaccinated against the virus, the province has developed a four-step reopening plan that could allow people to socialize normally again as early as September.
From now on, residents can once again dine indoors, go to the gym for low-intensity workouts, play outdoor sports, and organize in-person church gatherings – though all of these activities have yet to take place at a smaller scale with security protocols in place. .
If the data moves in the right direction, travel restrictions in British Columbia could be lifted in Stage 2 – around June 15 at the earliest. Traveling to Canada may be acceptable in Stage 3, around July 1.
Health Minister Adrian Dix announced during Thursday’s live press briefing that surgeries canceled during the third wave are expected to resume on June 7 and patients will be contacted to make a new reservation.
On April 26, as cases of COVID-19 increased, nine hospitals in the Lower Mainland postponed elective surgeries.
Dix said 97% of surgeries in British Columbia that had been canceled since the start of the pandemic are now complete.
Officials said British Columbia is on track to exceed its July 1 deadline to get a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all eligible residents aged 18 and over.
Registration can be done online through the Get Vaccinated portal, by calling 1-833-838-2323, or in person at any Service BC location.
Children between the ages of 12 and 17, or approximately 310,000 people in British Columbia, can also register through the online portal. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was recently approved for use in children in this age group.