Dr. Bonnie Henry and long-term care workers were the first Islanders to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 22. (Courtesy of Island Health)

Dr. Bonnie Henry and long-term care workers were the first Islanders to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 22. (Courtesy of Island Health)

Dr. Bonnie Henry, long-term care staff get first doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Island Health

Dr. Bonnie Henry, long-term care staff received the vaccine Tuesday

Dr. Bonnie Henry and long-term care workers were the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Vancouver Island Tuesday morning.

By noon, chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick said, more than 60 people in Greater Victoria alone had received their first dose.

“The approach right now is to create a ring of safety around the residents of long-term care facilities,” he said.

Island Health received its first shipment – 1,950 vials – of the Pfizer vaccine to its facility on Dec. 21. Because it has to be stored at -70 C, the vaccine can only be administered from its storage facility.

Stanwick said they hope to receive permissions to transfer the vaccines again, so they could actually store some in long-term care facilities and more easily distribute it.

“We’re just having to adapt as we go,” he said.

Dena Scriven, a nursing assistant in long-term care, was the first health care worker in Island Health to get vaccinated.

“I felt a little bit nervous walking into that room with everybody, but it is a vaccine I have read a lot about,” she said. “I had no worries. I’m confident it is safe.”

The vaccine is being distributed based on proximity and vulnerability to COVID-19.

Long-term care workers will receive it first, followed by residents and other health care workers.

Changing circumstances may also alter how the limited supply is distributed, Stanwick explained, noting incidents like the Saanich Peninsula Hospital outbreak.

The Island should receive its next round of doses by January, he said, although the number has not yet been determined.

If Health Canada approves the Moderna vaccine, it is possible the Island will receive even more. The benefit of Moderna, Stanwick noted, is that it doesn’t have to be stored at sub-freezing temperatures and can more easily be transported to people in need.

While the arrival of the vaccine is exciting, Stanwick said, he emphasized that people still need to follow provincial health orders. If people choose to ignore them and gather for Christmas, he noted, the Island will see a significant uptick in cases in January.


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

CoronavirusGreater VictoriaIsland Healthvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tom Lennox finds peace when he runs in the Cumberland Forest. He hasn’t missed a day in nearly a year. Photo supplied
Cumberland runner nears 366 consecutive days on the trails

Cumberland resident Tom Lennox has been running a minimum of five kilometres… Continue reading

Courtenay’s Ace Brewing Company’s Jet Fuel IPA was chosen for second place in the annual Canadian Brewing Awards. Photo submitted
Courtenay brewery takes silver medal at Canadian Brewing Awards

“It’s huge - they are the biggest awards in Canada that you can get (in the brewing industry).”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

The Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District board is concerned about having to fund more than just hospitals like the one in the Comox Valley. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Comox Strathcona board worried over funding more than hospitals

Island Health points to seniors care to reduce demand at acute care sites

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Courtenay area this weekend

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Dog owners, from left, Marlyn Briggs with Nayla, Marjory Sutherland with Effie and Mick, and Christina Godbolt with Conon walk their pets frequently at the Chemainus Ball Park but are growing increasingly concerned about drugs being found discarded in the area. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Puppy rushed to emergency 3 times after ingesting drugs in Chemainus public spaces

Dog owners walking in Chemainus parks urged to take caution

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Most Read