Ole Lammers / Staff reporter
Health Canada has officially approved the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine for use throughout Canadian provinces. By the end of 2021, The BC government states that “everyone vaccines are recommended for will have the opportunity to get it.” Vaccinations have already begun among those that fall into “priority vaccine groups.” Students however fall among the “general population timeline,” which will come into further effect as more vaccine becomes available.
On December 9, Health Canada officially authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use throughout Canada, followed shortly by the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on December 23rd. Since then, a rigorous distribution plan has been formed that will make sure those in most need will receive the vaccine first, as recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.
This distribution plan outlines the timeline for what are called “priority vaccine groups”. Between December and February, vaccinations will be distributed amongst what are called the “first groups”, these include long-term care home residents and staff, hospitalized individuals awaiting long-term care, health care workers in charge of COVID-19 patients in environments like Intensive Care Units, and finally, remote and isolated Indigenous communities. Immunizations will expand from February to March to groups including seniors, the homeless, adults in group homes or mental health residential care, provincial correctional facilities, long term home residents and staff, hospital staff, and other Indigenous communities not vaccinated between December and February.
After priority groups are vaccinated, and available vaccine increases, the general population timeline will kick into effect, which hopes to vaccinate everyone who is recommended to be by the end of 2021. Health Canada states that “herd immunity could be reached once 60 to 70% of the population is vaccinated.” Students are part of the general population timeline. Vaccinations for the general public will likely increase by the end of March, when first group vaccinations finish. At this time, there is no need to contact your local health authority, but instead keep abiding by existing COVID-19 health orders in order to prevent the spread.