British Columbia’s inconsistent COVID-19 vaccination rollout is set to get a big shot in the arm.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said the province is expecting the supply of Pfizer vaccine to double starting next week and remain at record levels through the month of May.
The province received 138,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week.
The shipment is expected to go up to 276,000 doses next week, with the same amount expected each Monday through May.
In total, the province is expecting 1.1 million doses of Pfizer in May.
The province is also expecting an additional shipment of the Moderna vaccine in the middle of May.
“What that means is over the next week, once we get to Monday, we will be inviting people to book rapidly,” Dix said.
“What we are trying to do is get as many people registered.”
Pfizer has been described as the province’s “workhorse” of the vaccination clinics, making up a majority of the aged-based immunizations.
The province is expecting to speed up the aged-based program. There has been been growing frustration that it’s been stalled for those in their late fifties. As of Thursday, B.C. is now booking appointments for those 58 years and older.
The expectation is the increased supply will allow the province to move down one birth year each day next week. But you cannot book an appointment for the Pfizer/Moderna age-based program if you are not registered.
“Once we get to next week, we are going to be going by age, day after day. It is going to go much more quickly now. I ask anyone who has the ear of anyone to remind them to get registered,” Dix said.
“Anyone right now who is 58 and above can register right now and get booked right away.”
Around 1.9 million people have registered across the province.
There has been some confusion around whether people need to register with the provincial system even if they go to receive a vaccination at a pharmacy.
The province sent 185,000 doses of AstraZeneca to pharmacies and so far, 163,000 of them have been administered with more appointments booked and the rest to be used up in the coming days.
Many of those people have booked second-dose appointments directly with the pharmacy. The province is asking this group to register on the province’s online portal regardless, and there is no guarantee the second shot will take place as booked.
“I can say that well in advance of needing a second dose, which for people who were vaccinated in April will be August, people will have all the information they need to proceed. There is some time before their second appointment will have to be booked. In that time, people will get lots of information and lots of advanced notice,” Dix said.
The province is also expecting its first shipment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This is a one-shot vaccine, and about 40,000 doses are expected to arrive at the end of the week.
Dix said additional details will be provided in the next week about how that vaccine will be used.
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