B.C. using AstraZeneca vaccine on priority groups, other provinces focusing on younger cohorts
VICTORIA -- British Columbia is about to begin administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to residents of the province next week. It’s the latest COVID-19 vaccine to be approved by the federal government and will make a big difference in the effort to vaccinate the entire country by the end of the summer.
Today in other provinces, many people are already receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.
"Liberated, I really do feel better about getting the shot," said one man who spoke with CTV News in Toronto on Thursday.
It's a shot in the arm for the region's immunization efforts, and it's hard not to notice younger people in Ontario and Alberta are receiving their shot earlier than here.
In B.C., Dr. Bonnie Henry has decided to direct AstraZeneca doses towards people working in high-risk workplaces, such as in food processing centres or industrial work camps.
"We are confident that that will help us protect our communities as well as those workplaces," she said Tuesday.
"We're going to deploy that resource as we see best fit," said B.C. Premier John Horgan on the same day. "To protect the most vulnerable in our communities."
In some provinces, the new vaccine is instead being offered to younger age groups. In Alberta and Ontario, it means people aged 65 year or older can now get their shot.
Regardless of how vaccines are being distributed, health experts say all Canadians can expect to receive a vaccine.
"We'll get there in a slightly different way from province to province," said Brian Conway, Medical Director of the Vancouver Infectious Disease Centre.
In B.C., vaccines are currently only being offered to people aged 85 or older, with appointments opening up to people aged 80 or older in the weeks to come.
"We know that the risk of hospitalization and mortality is very strictly age-based," said Conway. "That is the criteria that drives the poorest outcomes for COVID infection."
Earlier this week, the province announced it had received 68,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses. In late April, B.C. will be receiving a further 136,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, then in late May, a further 68,000.
"Now with vaccines on the horizon, we have new hope," said Horgan Tuesday.