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80% of eligible adults in B.C. have now received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose


British Columbia has just hit a major COVID-19 vaccine milestone.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said Tuesday that 80 per cent of the adult population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

In a press conference announcing plans to expand Richmond Hospital, Dix mentioned the province was also close to having 80 per cent of the population over 12 partially immunized.

As of Monday, 78.8 per cent of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. had received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 44.6 per cent had received their second dose.

Read more: Data in favour of mixing COVID-19 vaccines, but long-term effects unknown: experts

When just eligible adults are counted, that number climbed to 79.9 per cent while 47.7 per cent have received their second dose.

“It is our expectation and certainly now our expectation — given the effectiveness of these vaccines, their safety record as vaccines, because remember, care workers were vaccinated first before everyone else starting in December of 2020 — that we expect everyone to be vaccinated,” Dix said.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said last week that Canada was closing in on 80 per cent but first doses were slowing.

Click to play video: A closer look at B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination goals

The 80-per-cent threshold is seen as crucial for community immunity, especially considering children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine.

Dix was also asked about some AstraZeneca doses in the province going to waste after they expired because people chose not to receive AstraZeneca as a second dose.

In June, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization advised that mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna are the preferred second doses for those who took AstraZeneca as their first.

Dix said a very small number of doses have been wasted so far and the province does not have the exact number yet.

Click to play video: B.C. getting big boost in vaccine supplies

“We were cautious. We had to make an assessment when we distributed AstraZeneca to pharmacies — because it wasn’t going to come back — how much we would be able to use,” Dix said.

“There was a change in some of the advice we received from NACI in that time, which I think affected the amount of AstraZeneca we used. We were able to deliver the amount to people who wanted AstraZeneca.”

British Columbia still has some AstraZeneca doses on hand, which expire much later in the summer.

Officials continue to urge those who received their first jab to follow through and get their second dose.