A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

B.C. shortens second COVID-19 vaccine wait from 16 weeks to eight

Pfizer second dose after Moderna safe, effective, Dr. Henry says

B.C. public health officials have enough COVID-19 vaccine to offer second doses eight weeks after the first, starting with the oldest people still waiting for a second coronavirus vaccine.

People aged 70 and older and those who are clinically vulnerable will start receiving invitations for second-dose appointments starting Thursday (May 27), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said. Earlier when the pandemic was surging in March and April, the interval was extended to up to 16 weeks to get first-dose protection to as many people as possible.

Once the estimated 700,000 people who are 70 and older or clinically vulnerable have received second doses, the program will continue down by age as with first doses. Remote and Indigenous communities that received first doses for all age groups at once will have the same clinics for second doses.

Henry said recent interruptions in supply of Moderna vaccine are expected to level out by the end of June, but some people who received Moderna for a first dose may be offered the Pfizer vaccine for their second dose. She said research is showing that interchanging the two messenger RNA vaccines is safe and effective.

“I would encourage people to take the Pfizer if it is offered,” Henry said.

For those who received a first dose of AstraZeneca, a more traditional viral vector vaccine, Henry said results of studies in the United Kingdom and elsewhere on mixing with messenger RNA vaccines are still being conducted. But B.C. has sufficient AstraZeneca supplies on hand to proceed with second doses, as soon as deliveries are arranged with the pharmacies and workplaces where first doses were delivered, she said.

Henry reported 378 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the 24 hours up to May 27, an increase after two days of fewer than 300 new infections. There are 286 people in hospital, 88 of them in intensive care, and seven more deaths attributed to COVID-19. The overall infection rate is trending down rapidly after reaching a peak of more than 1,200 a day in early April.

Health Minister Adrian Dix also announced the resumption of scheduled surgeries at Lower Mainland hospitals where they were suspended to reassign beds and staff to deal with the spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations in March and April. Scheduled surgeries resumed in one of the three operating rooms at Abbotsford Regional Hospital and one of four suspended operating rooms at Surrey Memorial Hospital, with normal operations resuming by June 7 at those hospitals as well as Royal Columbian and Burnaby Hospitals.

RELATED: Whistler-Blackcomb to reopen Monday for summer

RELATED: No decision yet on reopening Canada-U.S. border


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Just Posted

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

..
Four Paws Food Bank-Barriere helps area pet owners

Leia Kett (as in Star War’s Princess Leia) has been a Barriere… Continue reading

teaser
Dynamic drives and pitiful putting helped even the score

Another Ladies’ Night has come and gone. This season is passing by… Continue reading

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

logo
Evacuation alert issued for residents south of Lytton

The TNRD Emergency Operations Centre in Kamloops says a wildfire in the area poses a threat to structures and residents.

Most Read