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B.C. completes COVID-19 vaccination in senior care homes

Global problems affect Canada’s vaccination effort
Chinese medical staff wave farewell to a World Health Organization team during their visit to Hubei Province Xinhua Hospital in Wuhan in central China on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. The WHO team visited the hospital where China says the first COVID-19 patients were treated more than a year ago as part of the experts’ long-awaited fact-finding mission on the origins of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

The B.C. health ministry has completed its immunization program for long-term care homes, with the dwindling stocks of vaccine offered to all residents and staff.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Friday there was a “very high uptake” for the vaccinations across the province, and detailed data will be available next week. In some sites there was 100 per cent vaccination, and others where there had been outbreaks, recently infected people may not have eligible for the vaccine.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the senior home clinics have delivered vaccine to 26,584 residents.

Supplies of Pfizer vaccine are diminished through February as the manufacturer retools its factory in Belgium, and Henry said the latest shortfall is 6,000 doses less of Moderna vaccine than expected. The Canadian government has been assured B.C. that the shortage of both will be made up by the end of March, Henry said.

“What happens in a remote community in China affects us here,” Henry said. “What happens in a factory in Belgium affects us.”

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The vaccine protection is showing up in the improved situation in the health care system, with active long-term care outbreaks reduced from 42 to 23 in recent weeks, and assisted living outbreaks down from seven to two. Dix said two of the most difficult outbreaks, at Morgan Place Care Facility in South Surrey and Little Mountain Place in Vancouver, have been declared over.

A new outbreak at Holy Family Long-term Care in Vancouver has been contained to one case. Outbreaks at acute-care areas of Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops and St. Paul’s in Vancouver are ongoing, after the first round of immunization focused on the highest-risk staff and residents in the health care system.

“The first dose vaccination is one step, and we have a long way to go,” Dix said.


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