Linda Huang / Edge columnist
In order to accelerate immunization plans for British Columbians, the province is extending the interval between the first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses. The good news is younger British Colombians may receive some protections earlier this year.
According to Tyler Orton’s article “B.C. extends the gap between vaccine doses to 16 weeks as rollout accelerates” in Tricity news, “Younger people who would have been scheduled for their first dose in the summer would now be getting their first dose likely in the spring.” However, many second doses for older British Columbians won’t commence until the summer, which is much later than planned when the province unveiled its strategy in January.
As reported in Orton’s article in Tricity news, “Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. both recommend intervals of three to four weeks between their first and second doses. B.C. has been administering doses 42 days apart since January.”
Due to the current change to immunization plans, effective Monday, March 1, that interval is being extended to 16 weeks, which is around 112 days. However, vaccines are proving to be effective for at least four months after a single dose. This means vaccine injections will effectively slow down the spread of the virus.
The problem of vaccinations has always been a big concern among all the citizens in B.C. Since the beginning of December in 2020, the first mass vaccination program has started. Older people and health workers at high risk of exposure were prioritized for vaccination. Younger citizens have been waiting in line to get their doses for months.
Nonetheless, during the vaccination period in the first quarter of the year, the province had experienced shipping delays and shortcuts of COVID-19 vaccine orders from Pfizer and Moderna. These emergencies slowed down the vaccination speed, thus shelving the overall vaccination schedule in the province.
COVID-19 vaccine rollouts need to be accelerated as soon as possible. During the past few weeks, new COVID-19 cases have been increasing tremendously, two more British Columbians lost their lives while suffering from the virus. Also, especially among young people in several high schools in SD43, new cases continue to rack up. As vaccination rollout stays slow, the minors have not been scheduled to be vaccinated. This will put students at greater risk of infection in the school environment since they don’t have any medical protections.
“The province will soon be “rejigging” the timeframes for mass vaccinations as a result,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said in Orton’s article in Tricity news, “we will be able to do a lot more in our post-pandemic reality once we have so many people in our population protected by vaccines.”
As the province is expecting a large number of vaccines to arrive recently, the speed of vaccinations should be accelerated to reach their promise, so that every British Colombian could be protected from the virus sooner.