Wednesday April 6, 2022 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. | Island Social Trends
It’s been several weeks since BC’s Provincial Health Officer and Health Minister addressed media about COVID. This is the third year of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
On Tuesday April 5 the update by Dr Bonnie Henry and Minister Adrian Dix reinforced the messaging about the importance of vaccination for protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Novavax now available:
And without much fanfare mentioned that the Novavax vaccine will now be available in BC later this week or early next week.
Some people who previously didn’t want the mRNA vaccine are already on a list; you can add your name to the list (for 1st dose, 2nd dose, or booster) at 1-833-838-2323.
Children not as severely impacted by Omicron:
Dr Henry said that for children who are too young to get COVID vaccination (i.e. age 0-4), “it’s a bit of a relief” that “Omicron does cause less severe illness in children”.
The Pfizer pediatric vaccine product is available for children ages 5 to 11 years. As of April 1, 2022 there had been 327,735 doses of pediatric Pfizer administered to young children (of those, 55,675 shots in Island Health).
As of April 1, 2022, 90.9% (4,529,134) of eligible people five and older in BC have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 87.4% (4,354,416) have received their second dose.
4th shot available:
Residents of long-term care and assisted living (persons of any age) or who are age 70+ living in the community, or are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV), a fourth COVID shot (i.e. second booster) is now being made available in BC (if six months from the third shot), said Dr Henry yesterday.
Omicron wave & rapid tests:
At the end of March (stats published on April 1, 2022) BC had officially recorded 356,772 test-positive cases of COVID-19 (33,320 of those in Island Health). But since the onset of the Omicron wave in December 2021, BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC) stats have been openly considered very approximate.
In January, as the Omicron wave continued to sweep through the population, Dr Henry suggested in a news conference that if people have cold-like or flu-like systems that they should assume they have COVID.
Rapid COVID tests for adults in BC became available last month. Now everyone can have rapid tests at home, Dix said yesterday.
The original BA.1 Omicron strain of COVID shifted into the now-prominent BA.2 subvariant. And now an XE combo-variant (BA.1 and BA.2) is emerging in the UK and the USA. Dr Henry did not mention the XE variant yesterday.
It’s taken over a year to hear this level of conviction from Dr Henry about prolonged health impacts due to COVID infection — i.e. people known as long-haulers or suffering from long-COVID. Yesterday she said it’s a very serious health condition.
Many young adults have long-COVID, particularly as they were left to last in the immunization queue in 2021, under what might be considered a mis-guided belief that young adults would be adequately resilient to COVID (SARS-CoV-2) infection.
COVID pandemic is not over:
Yesterday Dr Henry said that COVID is not like the cold or influenza. It is clearly more virulent and BC or the world is certainly not yet at the stage of COVID-19 being in endemic status.
The COVID pandemic is not over. #CovidIsNotOver
BC Vaccine card behind us now:
Meanwhile, as announced by Dr Henry last month, the BC Vaccine Card will no longer be required for access to any public spaces starting 12:01 am on Friday April 8, 2022.
Used to prove full vaccination (i.e. two doses at first, which seems out of date now as three doses seem to be necessary for protection against COVID), primarily the card was used in hospitality, retail and large-venue events.
COVID data shifts to weekly reports:
Even though media and the public have been tracking daily COVID data for over two years, the time has come to shift to weekly reports. The trends are more meaningful than daily counts, Dr Henry said this week.
Island Social Trends COVID Archive (December 2019 to current)
BC Centre for Disease Control – COVID data
===== ABOUT THE WRITER:
Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. has been actively reporting on news about the COVID pandemic since December 2019.