B.C. anticipates that it will surpass 2-million doses administered in its COVID-19 vaccination program on Thursday.
“Our immunizations are going up quickly, and the ages for those who are eligible for their vaccine is coming down. As of today, anyone 49 years of age or older can book their vaccine,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, on Thursday’s briefing. “With the vaccines that we have been receiving this week, we’re now in a place where we can move very quickly down these age groups.”
All B.C. residents over 18 can register for vaccination, Henry said this will allow health authorities to contact you when you can book an appointment.
On Wednesday, Health Canada gave the green light to administer the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to those 12 and older.
“We are working with our B.C. immunization committee and our public health team to determine exactly how we can best immunize young people. When the youth program is finalized, we will be providing all of the details,” said Henry.
B.C. has also reported its first case of a rare blood clot in a woman from Vancouver, linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. Henry said the condition is known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia, or VITT.
“The person is a woman in their 40’s, she is currently stable and receiving treatment in a hospital in Vancouver Coastal Health. This is something that we know is rare, but is associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine,” said Henry. “The likelihood of this happening is about one in 100,000 doses. There is, however, a test to determine if you do have this syndrome, and there is treatment.”
Henry said it is important to recognize symptoms and get treatment early. While rare, she noted that clots have been seen generally between four and 28 days after the vaccine has been administered.
“If you have had a vaccine, any vaccine, and are feeling unwell, you can call 811, you can talk to your healthcare provider. Particularly if you have symptoms that are concerning, such as a persistent, severe headache, shortness of breath, chest pain or swelling or redness in a limb,” explained Henry.
Despite this case, Henry offered reassurance in the efficacy of the vaccines available in the province.
“I recognize that it can be alarming to hear of this blood clot. If you are somebody who has received this vaccine, you need to know that it is rare, and it is treatable. You can be confident that you have received a safe and effective vaccine.”
Henry added that B.C.’s vaccine safety monitoring program will continue to provide information as it becomes available.
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