Optimism abounds with approval of 4th vaccine and early delivery of more Pfizer doses
VICTORIA -- News that Pfizer is accelerating delivery of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine was one of two pieces of encouraging news on the vaccine front Friday. Pfizer confirmed that 3.5 million of its vaccines are arriving in Canada in March through May. Those shots were previously scheduled to arrive in the summer.
Another source of optimism was the news Friday morning that Health Canada had approved a fourth vaccine — the single-shot one made by Johnson and Johnson — for use in Canada.
Canada has secured at least 10 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson product, which is made by its subsidiary Janssen. That news came on the heels of last Friday’s news that Health Canada had approved the Oxford - AstraZeneca vaccine for use in Canada.
B.C.’s Premier John Horgan said the additional vaccines would impact the province’s vaccine rollout plan.
“With the Janssen product, with AstraZeneca available to us, we will be able to expand our program,” Horgan said.
It’s not known yet exactly how much of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine B.C. will get, or when it will arrive in the province, other than likely not until April at the earliest.
As a result, for now, the province is holding off on adjusting expectations for when everyone in B.C. can get a shot, other than confirming by July or possibly June, but those dates could move up.
“More Pfizer, which was announced today, and the prospect starting in April of Johnson and Johnson, that obviously improves the situation,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.
Dix did say that the early arrival of Pfizer doses means some seniors will get their shots earlier than expected.
Meanwhile, 100 people experiencing homelessness got a Moderna shot Thursday at Our Place Society in downtown Victoria.
Grant McKenzie, who is a spokesperson for Our Place, said it was an emotional day, and half the staff there were in tears of joy seeing the vulnerable population they work with get the shot.
He also noted that news of those shots was not publicized in advance, because there was concern that folks who are not homeless might also try to get the shots.
“At Our Place, of course, we don’t turn anybody away,” said McKenzie. “So you could see there was an opportunity there for people to come down and we would have run out of vaccine and it wouldn’t have gone to the appropriate population.”
Details about an accelerated timeline for the rest of the population - including a list of those essential service workers who will be prioritized for an earlier first shot - is expected in two weeks.