B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stayed low and steady Thursday as health officials work to keep up with demand for second doses with shifts in expected vaccine supplies.
Clinics around the province are booking “tens of thousands” of vaccine appointments each day, and while Pfizer vaccine shipments are expected to be reduced during the first two weeks of July, B.C. expects to keep up with those appointments, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said June 17.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said while deliveries of Pfizer from the federal government will be lower as of July 5, “significant new supplies of Moderna vaccine” have already begun arriving in B.C. each week and that is expected to continue in July as Pfizer shipments return to previous levels in the second half of the month.
Henry said B.C.’s policy of providing the same vaccine for second doses remains the first choice, but research is showing the two messenger RNA vaccines are “considered interchangeable” and one or the other will be offered in cases where both are not available at a clinic on a given day.
As of June 17, 74.8 per cent of all eligible B.C. residents aged 12 and up have received a first dose of vaccine, and 76.5 per cent of adults.
Public health authorities reported 120 new cases for the 24 hours up to June 17, up slightly from 113 on Wednesday and consistent with results since last week.
There has been one additional coronavirus-related death in the past 24 hours, an 80-year-old patient at Richmond Hospital who contracted the virus during an outbreak that temporarily suspended elective surgeries there. That outbreak and one at Kelowna General Hospital have been declared over, and there are no current outbreaks in acute care facilities.
There are three active outbreaks in senior care facilities, after a second outbreak at Cherington Place in Surrey has been declared over. Active outbreaks continue at Glenwood Seniors Community in Surrey, Heritage Manor in Fort St. John and Rotary Manor in Dawson Creek.
Of the latest 120 cases, 53 were found in the Fraser Health region, 13 in Vancouver Coastal, 43 in the Interior Health region, five in Northern Health and five on Vancouver Island.