A nurse holds a phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, as the U.K. health authorities rolled out a national mass vaccination program. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

A nurse holds a phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, as the U.K. health authorities rolled out a national mass vaccination program. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

B.C. COVID-19 vaccinations reach nearly 12,000 people

Moderna vaccines arrive, remote areas a priority

B.C. has received its first shipments of the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19, with nearly 12,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine delivered to front-line health care workers and seniors in care.

The Moderna vaccines require less low-temperature storage and will be prioritized for remote regions in B.C.’s North, Interior and parts of Vancouver Island, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Dec. 29. Both require two doses over several weeks to reach their highest effectiveness.

Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix reported five days of declining diagnosed cases over the Christmas period, and urged people to follow the current public health order banning in-home gatherings for New Year’s Eve and the remainder of the holiday season.

Dix said all the Pfizer vaccine B.C. has will be administered as first doses, ramping up to 20,000 by the third week of the program. Training for delivery was carried out over the weekend following Christmas.

RELATED: B.C. COVID-19 cases declining, but 74 more deaths

RELATED: Tahltan among remote communities getting vaccine

Henry said there have been two allergic reactions so far to the Pfizer vaccine, both health care employees who have been treated and recovered.

“This is not unexpected given what we have learned about the messenger RNA vaccines, and what we’ve seen in other jurisdictions,” Henry said.

The health ministry has identified several remote Indigenous communities where the Moderna vaccines will be administered first. Henry noted that both of the vaccines now approved for use in Canada are “fussy” and require substantial training to administer. They were developed in record time by using “messenger RNA” that induces a cell response to defend against the identified virus.

A new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that was first identified in Britain has been detected in one case of a traveller to Vancouver Island, who developed symptoms while in federally-mandated 14-day quarantine, Henry said. British results show the new strain is more easily transmitted, but there is no evidence it causes more severe illness or is resistant to vaccines, she said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP and the BX-Swan Lake Fire Department are on scene of a reported quonset fire fully involved in the 900 block of Pottery Road. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon quonset structure on fire

BX-Swan Lake Fire Department battling blaze on property on Pottery Road Wednesday, Feb. 24

Medical masks and social distancing are new additions to this year’s farmer’s market in Vernon amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Petition added to efforts to bring crafters back to farmers’ markets

Local market losing money, members and customers due to provincial health regulations

Roads crews cleared the second rockslide in less than a month on Pelmewash Parkway Feb. 23. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Rockslides ‘amplified’ this time of year in Lake Country

Crews clear Pelmewash Parkway again, after, it was littered with rocks Feb. 23

COVID-19 testing at the Vernon Health Services Unit. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star)
Two Vernon high schools exposed to COVID-19

Vernon Secondary and Seaton were sent home notices yesterday of exposure event

UBCO students are among the most food insecure in Canada, according to a new study by UBC Okanagan. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News/FILE)
UBCO students among most food insecure in Canada

42.3 per cent either can’t properly feed themselves, or are worried they will soon run out of money

B.C. health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and health minister Adrian Dix wore pink shirts to showcase this year’s motto: “Lift each other up.” (Twitter/PinkShirtDay)
PHOTOS: B.C. celebs take a stand against bullying on Pink Shirt Day

‘We need to let young people know they are not alone and they can reach out to others for help’

Malakwa firefighters bring a barn blaze under control in the 4,000 block of the Trans-Canada Highway on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. (Sean Coubrough/CSRD photo)
Barn fire prompts fundraiser for Shuswap family of eight

Blaze leaves Malakwa family in need of feed, supplies for beloved horses

Justin Morissette is still recovering from the injuries sustained in the altercation. He is not yet able to walk without assistance. (Justin Morissette, Twitter)
B.C. man suing city and police over violent altercation with anti-LGBTQ preacher

Justin Morissette argues police knew the threat the preacher posed, and failed to keep the peace

Brad Eliason as seen here after he came out of a medically-induced coma after being severely injured during an unprovoked assault at Okanagan Lake beach by Thomas Kruger-Allen. (Photo courtesy of GoFundMe)
Beach attacker’s sentencing delayed in Penticton court

His defense lawyer has introduced a Charter of Rights breach application

(Mission Group)
Demolition of Bargain Shop downtown Kelowna clears way for big development

Bernard Block will encompass two residential towers, commercial tower, street-facing businesses

Even with COVID travel restrictions the occupancy rate at the campground shot from 17 per cent to 45 per cent in 2020.  Photo Town of Princeton
Princeton’s town-owned RV park caught ‘campfire’ in 2020

Tourism director has even bigger plans for coming year

Jack Barnes, who was Cowichan Valley Capitals property from May 2020 until last week, scores a goal for the Penticton Vees during the 2019-20 BCHL season. (Brennan Phillips/Black Press)
COVID-crunched BCHL facing trade deadline dilemma with its 20-year-olds

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

Reactions to the federal government’s proposed gun legislation are mixed across the province. (File photo)
Princeton mayor has no appetite for local handgun ban

Newly tabled federal legislation will download decision to municipalities

Cannabis
Vancouver-based cannabis retailer buys Kelowna pot shop

Grasshopper Cannabis was bought before it even opened for business

Most Read