Minister Adrian Dix looks through a copy copy of phase two in B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization plan as Premier John Horgan looks on during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Minister Adrian Dix looks through a copy copy of phase two in B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization plan as Premier John Horgan looks on during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Most B.C. adults could get their first COVID vaccine shot by July: health officials

Second doses will be delayed by up to four months

The majority of adults in B.C. could have their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by July, according to provincial health officials.

Dr. Penny Ballem, the province’s COVID vaccination lead, said that will be accomplished by extending the amount of time between doses.

The plan is based on data that health officials said shows that the first dose of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines provide at least 90 per cent protection against COVID. Ballem said that getting the first dose into the arms of most long-term care workers and residents has “dramatically reduced” outbreaks, even though many have not gotten their second dose yet.

B.C. plans to immunize another 400,000 people in March and early April, starting with seniors over the age of 90. Ballem said that both the recent approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine and delaying second doses by four months will make a “big, big difference” in how quickly even young and healthy adults will be able to get their first shot, as well as how quickly restrictions could be lifted.

“By mid to late July we will have been able to give a first dose to everybody in our population, which is a significant shift from our earlier plan out into September,” Ballem said. “It’s very very good news for returning to life as usual.”

READ MORE: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

READ MORE: National panel advises against using Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on seniors


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