'We're on a good path': Vancouver Island adds 2 new COVID-19 cases

British Columbia health officials identified two new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Island region Thursday.

The new cases were among 199 cases found across the province over the past 24 hours.

Health officials have now confirmed 144,866 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. since the pandemic began, including 5,064 cases in the Vancouver Island region.

Two more British Columbians have died of the disease, health officials announced Thursday, bringing the province’s pandemic death toll to 1,709. Both victims were in their 60s, according to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

No deaths were reported in the Vancouver Island region Thursday, where 41 people have died since the pandemic began.

There are currently 81 active cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Island region, according to the BCCDC, including three people in hospital and one in critical care.

Island Health identified the locations of 37 active cases Thursday, including 19 in the South Island, 15 in the Central Island and three in the North Island.

Approximately 71.8 per cent of all adults in B.C. have now received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 68.9 per cent of people aged 12 and older have been vaccinated.

As of Thursday, health officials had administered 3,365,334 doses of vaccine in B.C., including 229,585 secondary doses.

Henry reiterated that it is safe and effective for B.C. residents to get a different kind of vaccine for their second dose than their first.

The health officer said temporary supply problems with the Moderna vaccine will mean some British Columbians who received Moderna for their first dose will be offered Pfizer for their second dose.

“You can choose to rebook later in June, when more Moderna is available,” Henry said. “But I would encourage everyone to take the vaccine that you are offered when you go in for your second dose.”

Those who received AstraZeneca for their first dose in March and April “did make the right choice,” Henry said, despite concerns about rare blood clots suffered by a small fraction of those who received AstraZeneca.

“People who received AstraZeneca and want to receive your second dose of AstraZeneca after at least eight weeks, it will be available to you through pharmacies,” Henry said. “That will be starting on Monday.”

Henry said the pharmacies where patients received their first dose will contact them to schedule their second dose.

Alternatively, those who received AstraZeneca the first time around will also be invited to get either Pfizer or Moderna for their second dose through the provincial clinic program. 

“We will have enough vaccine for everybody to receive their first and their second dose by the end of summer, and very likely much before that,” Henry said. “We know that we’re on a good path.”