VANCOUVER -- B.C.'s top doctor says she expects increased visits to those living in long-term care homes may be possible by the end of this month.

Dr. Bonnie Henry made the comments during a COVID-19 briefing Tuesday, explaining science has shown just how effective the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been after one dose.

As a result, the province has decided to space out first and second doses to as long as four months in order to give out more first doses.

"This is the positive thing," Henry said.

"We're now saying that evidence shows us that high-level of protection is there, at least in the short term, after one dose. So that does move up the timeline for us to be able to increase visits to long-term care."

Henry said officials are working on how to ensure visitors are also protected when they enter care homes.

"We're focusing on ensuring that essential visitors are immunized and that we're doing our best to protect people to go into long-term care as we still want to make sure it's safe for everyone in those environments," she explained.

In the meantime, Henry said the impact of most residents long-term care residents and workers being vaccinated is already being noticed.

"We've already, thankfully, seen increased activities within care homes because we've had such a high immunization level in care homes and for quality of life that is so, so important," she said.

"We expect before the end of this month to be able to increase visits and have families be together with their loved one in care homes."