Anxiety builds as details of B.C.’s mass vaccination plan for people over 80 delayed

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The B.C. government is waiting to receive more vaccines from the federal government before unveiling a COVID-19 immunization distribution plan for those 80 years of age and older.Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry originally expected to unveil the details of plan this week but it has now been pushed to next week.This delay could impact the distribution of the vaccine which is currently set to start the first week of March.Premier John Horgan said the province will provide the information to the public when it is available and does not want to announce a registration plan without having the vaccines in the province.

B.C. vaccination plan unveiled by health officials

B.C. vaccination plan unveiled by health officials – Jan 22, 2021

“I understand and appreciate anxiety and frustration. But it’s not from lack of giving information, it’s about a lack of information. If we had it, we would tell you. We are reaching out to our health authorities, to communities, across B.C., to put in place the infrastructure to meet the expectations of the public,” Horgan said. Story continues below advertisement

“I’m confident, should supply arrive, that we’ll be able to meet those expectations.”British Columbia was the first province in Canada to release a mass vaccination plan.The focus currently is on providing first and second doses for those working and living in both long term care and assisted living. The province is also vaccinating First Nations populations across the province as part of the current phase.

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Focus BC: How successful will the COVID-19 vaccine plan be? – Jan 22, 2021

The next step will be notifying those 80 years of age and older that they are eligible and making appointments for them.

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There are 49,726 British Columbians 90 years of age and older and 187,443 British Columbians 80 years old to 89 years old. The province is attempting to get this group immunized by the end of March. Story continues below advertisement

The possible delays to the plan have been because of a drop off in supply of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The federal government has been responsible for procuring the vaccine while the provinces are responsible for distributing it.“Me being concerned about that and complaining about Ottawa will not vaccinate one BCer,” Horgan said.“We’ve got good people in place, we’re ready to go. We don’t have vaccines.”

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BC Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond said she has heard increasing anxiety from many constituents about notification for the vaccine. Bond says the main questions surround how people will be notified it is their turn, where will they get the vaccine and how can they make an appointment.“If you have an 80 year old in your family you are sitting waiting because there is no plan laid out,” Bond said. Story continues below advertisement

“We have been dealing with the pandemic for a year now and British Columbians expect answers to their questions.”
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Once the 80-plus group has been vaccinated, the province will shift to the 70- to 79-year-old group and work its way from eldest to youngest.The province will be using community centres, arenas and other available spaces for vaccination clinics. The B.C. government is having discussion with pharmacists over the role they will play in the plan.B.C. pharmacists administered more than one million flu vaccines this year but have not been notified what role they will play in mass COVID vaccinations.“B.C.’s pharmacists support the government’s plans for large-scale immunization clinics,” BC Pharmacy Association CEO Geraldine Vance said.“However, they also believe community pharmacies should be utilized to extend the number of immunizations that can be delivered in the shortest amount of time possible.”

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