By now you have heard that COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed worldwide, including within Canada.
Currently two vaccines have been approved for use by Health Canada; the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Without getting into the technical details, both vaccines require two doses to be deemed effective.
Pfizer-BioNTech requires a second dose to be given 21 days after the first dose, while Moderna is 28 days apart from the first dose.
The timing between the first dose and the second dose is important, given the limited supply of available vaccine
For example, at the beginning of this week British Columbia had received 54,625 doses combined of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine.
In turn 28,209 of these doses have now already been administered to those who fall under Stage 1 priority.
Who is Stage 1 priority here in BC?
A brief summary of this list includes “residents, staff and essential visitors to long-term care and assisted-living residences.”
In addition, “Individuals in hospital or community awaiting a long-term care placement” as well as “Health care workers providing care for COVID-19 patients in settings like ICU, emergency departments, medical/surgical units and paramedics”.
Remote and isolated Indigenous communities are also included in Stage 1.
Some have looked at the 54,625 doses of vaccine delivered to B.C. and questioned why only 28,209 doses have been administered to date, pointing out this vaccination rate is only around 51%.
Herein lies the challenge.
Since two doses are required per person, the 54,625 doses allows for 27,312 individuals to receive both shots of the vaccine.
BC has now administered over 28,000 doses.
That means that there is not enough vaccine supply available for all of those vaccinated individuals to receive their second dose.
The supply to give those required second doses has not yet arrived, here in BC.
This additional vaccine supply must first land in Canada, then is transported to BC and finally distributed to various vaccination sites within our province to be available for those needing the required second dose within that 21-28 day window.
This illustrates the immense challenges that Provincial Health Authorities are dealing with given the very limited COVID supply that the Federal Government has managed to procure.
For some context, while BC has received 54,625 doses, nearby Washington State, with a population 2.6 million people more B.C., received over six times more doses at 358,025.
It is important to understand, with the limited supply of COVID vaccine here in BC, citizens must continue to take all precautions as a result.
To put it bluntly, it will be some time before the vaccine delivery will make a significant impact.
My question this week:
Are you satisfied with how the vaccine is being distributed in Canada?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.