A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

B.C. shortens second COVID-19 vaccine wait from 16 weeks to eight

Pfizer second dose after Moderna safe, effective, Dr. Henry says

B.C. public health officials have enough COVID-19 vaccine to offer second doses eight weeks after the first, starting with the oldest people still waiting for a second coronavirus vaccine.

People aged 70 and older and those who are clinically vulnerable will start receiving invitations for second-dose appointments starting Thursday (May 27), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said. Earlier when the pandemic was surging in March and April, the interval was extended to up to 16 weeks to get first-dose protection to as many people as possible.

Once the estimated 700,000 people who are 70 and older or clinically vulnerable have received second doses, the program will continue down by age as with first doses. Remote and Indigenous communities that received first doses for all age groups at once will have the same clinics for second doses.

Henry said recent interruptions in supply of Moderna vaccine are expected to level out by the end of June, but some people who received Moderna for a first dose may be offered the Pfizer vaccine for their second dose. She said research is showing that interchanging the two messenger RNA vaccines is safe and effective.

“I would encourage people to take the Pfizer if it is offered,” Henry said.

For those who received a first dose of AstraZeneca, a more traditional viral vector vaccine, Henry said results of studies in the United Kingdom and elsewhere on mixing with messenger RNA vaccines are still being conducted. But B.C. has sufficient AstraZeneca supplies on hand to proceed with second doses, as soon as deliveries are arranged with the pharmacies and workplaces where first doses were delivered, she said.

Henry reported 378 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the 24 hours up to May 27, an increase after two days of fewer than 300 new infections. There are 286 people in hospital, 88 of them in intensive care, and seven more deaths attributed to COVID-19. The overall infection rate is trending down rapidly after reaching a peak of more than 1,200 a day in early April.

Health Minister Adrian Dix also announced the resumption of scheduled surgeries at Lower Mainland hospitals where they were suspended to reassign beds and staff to deal with the spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations in March and April. Scheduled surgeries resumed in one of the three operating rooms at Abbotsford Regional Hospital and one of four suspended operating rooms at Surrey Memorial Hospital, with normal operations resuming by June 7 at those hospitals as well as Royal Columbian and Burnaby Hospitals.

RELATED: Whistler-Blackcomb to reopen Monday for summer

RELATED: No decision yet on reopening Canada-U.S. border


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Just Posted

AW Neill Elementary School in Port Alberni. (NEWS FILE PHOTO)
SD70 chooses new name for AW Neill School in Port Alberni

New name honours Nuu-chah-nulth Peoples’ connection to region

Ron MacDonald fields questions at a news conference in Halifax on Sept. 27, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Finding ‘comfortable’ indigenous monitor tough task in Tofino-area shooting death

Julian Jones case hampered by difficulty finding a civilian comfortable with privacy protocols

Port Alberni RCMP officer in command Insp. Eric Rochette presents longtime community policing volunteer Louie Aumair with a OIC appreciation certificate. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni RCMP honour longtime volunteer

First responders receive support from broader community

The Dock+ is located on Harbour Road in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
PROGRESS 2021: Port Alberni’s food hub still growing a year later

The Dock hopes to open a retail store on Alberni’s busy waterfront

Shanna Ramm of Mosaic is the first person to graduate with a Bachelor of Disability Management from Pacific Coast University-Workplace Health Sciences. Her convocation took place virtually on Dec. 1, 2020. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
PROGRESS 2021: Pacific Coast University celebrates with milestones

Alberni institution earns $6M return-to-work grant from province

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read