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British Columbia’s policy to vaccinate children against COVID-19 is the right thing to do, despite the lack of guidance from the World Health Organization, said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer.
Henry said Canada and other countries are immunizing children ages 12 to 18 with Pfizer, the only vaccine approved by the WHO for use in this age group. However, the WHO had not made general recommendations on vaccinating children against COVID-19, saying more evidence was needed.
“These are the decisions we have made in Canada and in many other countries,” said Henry. “We know there have been safety and efficacy studies in children up to the age of 12, and more studies are underway in children up to six months of age. “
As of Tuesday, 67,775 children aged 12 to 18 had received a dose of Pfizer, about 1.5% of all British Columbians who received at least one dose.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said 327,000 doses of Pfizer arrived this week, but after that shipments would be cut by about two-thirds until resumed later in July.
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Pfizer was the mainstay of the pandemic in British Columbia, accounting for 68% of all doses, followed by Moderna with 24%. These two mRNA vaccines are among four approved for use in Canada. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has yet to be used in Canada, while the AstraZeneca vaccine has fallen out of favor (although 10,000 doses are arriving in British Columbia this week).
“As you know, we received a whole bunch of Moderna last week and expect to receive more before the end of June and early July,” Henry said. “At the same time as we just heard, there is a delay and some challenges with Pfizer. “
Henry reported that 21 percent of adults in British Columbia were fully vaccinated with two doses, while 77.7 percent of adults had received at least one of the 4.5 million doses administered in the province so far. British Columbia’s strategy was to release as many single doses as possible, as the policy on when to give the second dose changed depending on the supply. He is now eight weeks old.
As of Tuesday, 80 percent of the 81,491 vaccine doses administered in British Columbia were second injections.
According to Dix, nearly 90 percent of British Columbians over 70 had received at least one dose and 55 percent had received two. Among those over 30, 20 percent received two doses and 80 percent a first dose. 4,511,923 doses of the three approved vaccines were administered in British Columbia
Henry reported 56 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and no deaths. There are 1,039 active cases of COVID-19 in the community, plus 111 treated in hospital, including 41 in intensive care.
There are three active outbreaks in healthcare facilities and so far 1,743 people have died from COVID-19 in British Columbia
All key measures of COVID-19 in British Columbia are improving.
The government of British Columbia has again extended the provincial state of emergency due to the pandemic until July 6.
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