Saturday July 3, 2021 | VANCOUVER ISLAND, BC
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Editor | Island Social Trends
With COVID-19 vaccine supply much increased compared to previous months of 2021 (primarily with larger shipments of Moderna in early July and larger Pfizer shipments coming later in July) Island Health is able to provide a limited number of walk-in appointments each day at mass immunization clinics, and expand the number of appointments available for booking across Vancouver Island.
There is also a ramp-up of different types of clinics (pop-up, retail, drive-through, etc) in different parts of the province — whatever works to reach people who want to receive a COVID-19 vaccination injection.
The BC Health goal is for 80% of British Columbians to be vaccinated with one dose, and eventually all of those with a second dose. As of July 2, the first-dose percentage of vaccinated adults (age 18+) was getting close at 78.7% and 35.2% had received their second dose, as outlined by BC Health in a release yesterday.
Teens over age 12 won’t yet be getting their second dose, as the recommended interval between doses is ideally 11 weeks, and that age cohort (age 12 to 17 years) only started getting their vaccines a few weeks ago. Including ages 12 and up, 32.9% of eligible British Columbians have received their second dose.
Medical experts say that none of the vaccines provide 100% protection, but full immunization (two shots, given at a suitable interval) will reduce serious illness, hospitalizations and deaths.
Pace of immunization:
B.C.’s mass immunization clinics have been designed for operational capacity of approximately 450,000 doses per week. As of June 25, the clinics were currently administering around 325,000 weekly, based on vaccine supply, says the BC Ministry of Health.
That pace was modestly interrupted by the heat wave of June 25 to July 2, during which time a number of immunization clinics within Island Health had to reschedule their appointments.
A short-term interruption in immunization appointments was experienced last weekend (and continued into Monday and Tuesday, June 28 and 29) at the Eagle Ridge Arena location in Langford and the Archie Browning Arena location in Esquimalt, due to extreme heat. Without air conditioning, the well-being of staff would be impacted as well as the vaccine products themselves, says Island Health.
COVID media briefings:
Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix gave their last regular COVID media update on June 28 with a further media briefing on June 29 (more so around the transition to Step 3 of the BC economic recovery and easing of health restrictions). Until now, almost 200 briefings about COVID were given since January of 2020.
Media will now be issued COVID-19 information updates in a “different format”, yet to be seen.
Changes in supply:
On June 24 Dr Henry outlined that in the first two weeks of July there will be more Moderna product coming into BC but less Pfizer-BioNTech product.
“Pfizer requires additional preparation time to inject the diluent in the vaccine vial, but this is minimal and does not slow down vaccine delivery,” the Ministry of Health told Island Social Trends, adding: “Vaccination sites are adequately staffed and are running efficiently.”
Vaccinations administered to date in Island Health (July 2, 2021):
So far in Island Health there have been 846,769 COVID-19 vaccinations administered. That’s up from 769,562 on June 25. Of all shots administered, 242,634 have been second doses (up from 176,996 at week ago).
Most of the administered doses in Island Health have been Pfizer (605,573 or 71.5%), with Moderna being the second-most administered (206,720 or 24.5%), and then AstraZeneca (31,476 or 3.7%). Here’s the detail (BC Centre for Disease Control stats) as of July 2:
- Pfizer – 1st dose 605,573 | 2nd dose 147,509
- Moderna – 1st dose 206,720 | 2nd dose 85,540
- AstraZeneca – 1st dose 31,476 | 2nd dose 9,585
Who’s doing what:
On June 18, BC’s Premier received his second dose of AstraZeneca here on Vancouver Island, saying ‘the best vaccine shot is the one that is offered to you’.
By contrast, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau got an mRNA shot (Moderna) for his second shot this week, following the mix-and-match protocol for COVID vaccines.
COVID still spreading:
On Vancouver Island there are still 11 active cases of COVID-19 (though that’s down from 38 a week ago), with six people in hospital (that’s up from four on June 25). There have been no new COVID-caused deaths in Island Health since May 31 (total 41 during the pandemic for Vancouver Island).
BC vaccination profile:
Across BC, 5,124,693 doses of COVID vaccine have been administered, of which 1,526,711 were second doses.
The first-dose count means that 78.7% of adults (18+) have received their first dose (up 1.1% since June 25), and 35.2% their second dose (that’s up about 8.3% in the past week). Of all vaccine-eligible British Columbians (age 12+), 77.5% have received a first dose (up 1.3% since June 25).
Most administered doses have been Pfizer (70.1%), followed by Moderna (22.8%), and AstraZeneca (7.4%) – rough percentages have been rounded up.
It takes two doses:
Vaccination is not complete until two doses are received. That has been made clear by health officials and is being promoted in a public information campaign by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
Months ago, when Island Social Trends asked Dr Henry in a live media session as to how people will be convinced to return for a second shot (in light of her excitement over the high immunization turnout among British Columbians for the first dose), she did say it was a difficult question that her team had been grappling with. Thereafter, the BC government’s messaging became more diligent on that goal.
Third shot needed?
For people who are seriously immuno-compromised, even a third dose might be required, said Dr Henry in recent weeks.
Very likely people could need a third booster in the fall-winter of 2021-2022, to help combat the continuing new variants that are emerging (currently the Delta variant is the newest one showing resistance to the present vaccines).
However, in an interview with Global News that aired in their Focus BC episode from Friday July 2, Dr Henry appears to be cautious on that, saying perhaps only immuno-compromised people might need a third shot. She is basing that on data out of the UK recently showing high efficacy of the vaccines after two doses.
===== LINKS: (provided by Island Health)
- For more information about Island Health clinic locations and hours: www.IslandHealth.ca
- To register or book a vaccination appointment please go to www.getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca.
- For answers to common questions about the COVID-19 vaccines go to www.immunizebc.ca
- Handling the heat wave – Island Health advisory