B.C. to reveal details of COVID-19 vaccination plan

covidvac

We're expecting to learn more about the roll out of COVID-19 vaccinations in our province today.

Health officials are holding a news conference Wednesday afternoon to lay out their plans.

Provincial health officer D. Bonnie Henry and Dr. Ross Brown, who has been appointed to oversee vaccine operations, will deliver a technical briefing to reporters. The pair will then be joined by Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan for the usual daily news conference, which will include the latest case updates as well as the immunization plan. Horgan tweeted Tuesday that the first vaccine doses are just days away.

“About 4,000 high-risk people in B.C. will be immunized by end of next week,” wrote the premier.

The priority will be those who live and work in long-term care and other health facilities. There will be two sites receiving the vaccine in B.C., but the exact locations have yet to be revealed.

The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at -70 C and local health officials have said there are currently very few facilities in the province that have the ability to do that. The other challenge will be administration in long-term care homes. Pfizer Canada spokeswoman Christina Antoniou says the company is asking that the initial 249,000 doses be given only at the first 14 delivery sites being set up across the country.

Canada’s top doctor, Theresa Tam, says it will be difficult getting residents in care to those sites. She says only those who can physically be there will be able to receive the first shots. B.C. participated in a trial run of receiving specialized containers with dry ice on Tuesday, in order to practice handling the fragile vaccines. Health Canada is expected to issue a Notice of Compliance in the coming days, which is the licence that will allow the vaccine to be used. Once it’s thawed, the vaccine can be refrigerated for up to one week.

Major urban centres like Vancouver are likely to have the infrastructure to properly store the shots, but it could be a challenge for more rural areas. The vaccine requires two doses, with the second one administered three weeks after the first. It's believed to be 95 per cent effective, but it's still unclear how long that protection lasts.

---with files from CTV News--