First COVID-19 vaccines arrive at B.C. naval base
CFB Esquimalt, a naval base on Vancouver Island, is shown in this undated file photo.
VICTORIA -- The first COVID-19 vaccines have arrived at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt as officials at the Victoria naval base expect approximately 300 personnel to get their first dose of the Moderna vaccine by the end of the week.
The vaccine’s arrival comes on the heels of an outbreak earlier this month that sent a group of base personnel into self-isolation with the disease.
Officials declined to say how many members remain in isolation this week, citing operational security and privacy concerns. However, the number of active COVID-19 cases across the whole of the Canadian Armed Forces fell this week from 102 active cases on April 5 to 86 active cases by Monday, April 12.
Hundreds more Esquimalt sailors and crew are currently in preventative quarantine in Victoria-area hotels ahead of departure later this month for training exercises aboard HMCS Regina.
The warship and its crew will leave CFB Esquimalt on April 28. The ship will spend most of May and June sailing local waters and participating in a task group exercise.
A spokesperson for Maritime Forces Pacific says the majority of the Regina’s crew have not been vaccinated but will have the opportunity to get a first dose before departure.
“As this is only the first dose, the crew will not be fully vaccinated,” said Lt.-Cmdr. Tony Wright in an email to CTV News. “So to safely proceed to sea in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic the members of HMCS Regina are currently observing a pre-sail protocol designed to mitigate the risk of bringing the virus on the ship.”
Military health officials will run weekly vaccine clinics at CFB Esquimalt until the end of June, when all Maritime Forces Pacific personnel will be vaccinated in line with the timeline for full vaccination across British Columbia.
The military clinics will prioritize high-risk and health services personnel, as well as those involved in search-and-rescue missions and critical international security partnerships.
Military family members will receive their COVID-19 vaccines through the general public health stream, with the exception of dependents of military members slated for postings outside of Canada.
The CAF has recorded 1,396 coronavirus cases among personnel since the pandemic began.