B.C.'s top doctor shares timetable for COVID-19 immunization
VANCOUVER -- As health officials across Canada prepare for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, B.C.'s top doctor shared some insight into the province's planning on Thursday.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters during her briefing on the coronavirus that she had met with her counterparts from across the country for a "remote exercise" modelling vaccine distribution, and added that she planned to provide a detailed update on the effort next week.
In broad terms, the plan is to immunize those at highest risk of serious complications from COVID-19 first, as well as those who work in the health-care system.
"We know that we will have limited amounts at first, so we won't be able to broadly achieve what we've been calling 'community immunity' or 'herd immunity' right off the bat, but that will come," Henry said.
Asked when, specifically, the general public should expect to be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine, the provincial health officer went into considerable detail on the plan.
She explained that Health Canada is reviewing submissions from Pfizer and Moderna, two companies that make different vaccines that will be available in Canada.
B.C. is planning to be ready to administer those two vaccines as of the first week of January, Henry said, but added that those are the only two products that are likely to be approved by that time.
"We have about six million doses across the country of (Pfizer and Moderna) vaccine that we expect to come through the weeks of January, February, March," Henry said. "That's not enough for everybody. What we do know, though, is that there's at least two other products that have submitted or are in the process of submitting data to Health Canada."
Once other vaccines are approved, likely in the second quarter of the year, additional doses of Pfizer and Moderna products should also be available, Henry said.
"By the time we get into April of 2021, we're expecting increased numbers of all of the vaccines to be available, and that's when we can start offering it to more people across British Columbia and across Canada," she said.
The hope is to have everyone who wants to be vaccinated done by September, the provincial health officer said.
"By the end of the year, anybody who wants vaccine in B.C. and in Canada should have it available to them and should be immunized," Henry added.