Home Health COVID-19 Fast nimble approach to shifting levels of vaccine supply in BC

Fast nimble approach to shifting levels of vaccine supply in BC

"For people 55 and up, we encourage them to go to their local pharmacy and get vaccinated with AstraZeneca as soon as they can," ~ Health Minister Adrian Dix (April 16, 2021)

Friday April 16, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC

by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Editor | Island Social Trends

Management of the pandemic in BC has included dealing with the challenge of vaccine supply.

First off, it’s amazing at all that a vaccine to protect against COVID-19 was developed at all, and particularly so quickly. The pandemic was officially declared in BC on March 17, 2020 and the first shipment of vaccines (Pfizer mRNA type) was received in BC in mid-December of last year.

Vaccine manufacturers are not surprisingly dealing with production and shipping challenges, especially given the international level of demand for their products.

Today April 16, 2021 BC Health Minister Adrian Dix, Minister of Health released the following statement about British Columbia’s vaccine rollout (within the BC Immunization Plan), on yet another day of new-case numbers over 1,000 in BC, with 49 of those in Island Health today):

“We know how eager people are to be vaccinated. I am proud of B.C.’s rapid delivery of vaccines into people’s arms, especially in our age-based, clinically extremely vulnerable and Indigenous vaccination campaigns. By the time new shipments of Pfizer arrived this week, we had utilized our existing supply. The same is true for Moderna.

Dr Richard Stanwick, Dr Bonnie Henry, first vaccination, Island Health
The first vaccinations to health-care workers in Island Health started in Greater Victoria December 22, 2020. [supplied]

“The delay in Moderna’s shipments is disappointing. The sooner we get vaccines in people’s arms, the better, and inconsistency in delivery is a consistent problem. This is simply a reality and not an issue of blame.

“That said, the federal government has said it will send additional doses of Pfizer in May and June. Doses in April would be more helpful, but we appreciate the ongoing effort and commitment of the federal government.

“Right now, Pfizer continues to be the workhorse of B.C.’s age-based vaccination program. It has the most reliable delivery schedule and we can properly prepare for its arrival.

“For people 55 and up, we encourage them to go to their local pharmacy and get vaccinated with AstraZeneca as soon as they can. [BC Pharmacy Association – list of pharmacy locations that offer the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine]

“While our ability to offer vaccine doses to people in B.C. depends on supply distributed by the federal government, as well as consistent and regular delivery of allocated doses by vaccine suppliers, the provincial and federal governments’ logistics teams are working closely together and are routinely providing important feedback to improve the process.

“Shipments from suppliers can be delayed, arrive early or arrive late, necessitating a fast and nimble approach to shifting levels of vaccine supply in B.C.

The Pharmasave retail pharmacy at Millstream Village is one of the pharmacies in the west shore that is offering the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“We’re making significant progress here in British Columbia – more than 1.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C. We’re moving ahead, as quickly and as safely as we can, and I encourage everyone to get their COVID-19 vaccine and help us move forward, together, to a healthier province.”

About 25% of BC adults now vaccinated:

Yesterday in his media briefing along with Dr Bonnie Henry, Minister Dix said that about 25% of BC’s 4.3 million adults have received a first dose of COVID vaccine so far.

The Pfizer and Modern products are being used in the age-based rollout at the community clinics, while the AstraZeneca is used at pharmacies (as well as by the government for workplace and ‘all-of-community’ vaccination programs, as supply allows).

===== LINKS:

April 15, 2021 COVID highlights from Dr Henry and Minister Dix (Island Social Trends | April 15, 2021)

BC Pharmacy Association (main website | list of pharmacy locations)

BC COVID-19 Immunization Plan (government website)