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COVID-19: B.C. almost out of AstraZeneca vaccine, no more expected ‘in the short term’

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If you’re unvaccinated and hoping to get a shot of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in B.C., odds are you’re out of luck — at least for now.

“There’s very little AstraZeneca left in the province right now,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said at her Thursday briefing.

“We don’t have any indication that we’re going to be receiving more in the short term. For people who have received it already, we do have guarantees that we will get some of it to be able to provide second doses for everybody who needs them.”

Read more: ‘Demand is outstripping the supply’: Is Canada running out of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines?

B.C. has about 10,000 doses of the vaccine left, about five per cent of the total shipped to the province so far, Health Minister Adrian Dix added.

B.C. has been administering the AstraZeneca vaccine through appointments booked at community pharmacies, and, more recently redirected much of its remaining stockpile to clinics in COVID-19 hotspots.

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Henry said the province was working to move what little supply of the vaccine remains from pharmacies in areas with low uptake to where it is more needed.

It comes as demand for the vaccine rapidly outstrips supply in the Lower Mainland.

Age eligibility for the vaccine was lowered to 40 last week and to 30 this week, prompting massive waitlists at pharmacies.

Read more: ‘Chaos and confusion’: Fraser Health stopping pop up clinic program following days of frustration

It also resulted in chaotic scenes at pop-up vaccination clinics organized for virus hotspots, where people queued for hours in hopes of getting immunized.

Canada has signed a deal to obtain up to 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with 2.3 million shipped so far.

It was expecting one million doses from India’s Serum Institute earlier this month, but shipments have been suspended as the South Asian country grapples with its own surge of new cases.

Federal Public Procurement Minister Anita Anand said on April 16 that Canada still expects to receive 4.1 million doses of AstraZeneca from all sources by the end of June.

— With files from Katie Dangerfield