A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

B.C. shortens second COVID-19 vaccine wait from 16 weeks to eight

Pfizer second dose after Moderna safe, effective, Dr. Henry says

B.C. public health officials have enough COVID-19 vaccine to offer second doses eight weeks after the first, starting with the oldest people still waiting for a second coronavirus vaccine.

People aged 70 and older and those who are clinically vulnerable will start receiving invitations for second-dose appointments starting Thursday (May 27), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said. Earlier when the pandemic was surging in March and April, the interval was extended to up to 16 weeks to get first-dose protection to as many people as possible.

Once the estimated 700,000 people who are 70 and older or clinically vulnerable have received second doses, the program will continue down by age as with first doses. Remote and Indigenous communities that received first doses for all age groups at once will have the same clinics for second doses.

Henry said recent interruptions in supply of Moderna vaccine are expected to level out by the end of June, but some people who received Moderna for a first dose may be offered the Pfizer vaccine for their second dose. She said research is showing that interchanging the two messenger RNA vaccines is safe and effective.

“I would encourage people to take the Pfizer if it is offered,” Henry said.

For those who received a first dose of AstraZeneca, a more traditional viral vector vaccine, Henry said results of studies in the United Kingdom and elsewhere on mixing with messenger RNA vaccines are still being conducted. But B.C. has sufficient AstraZeneca supplies on hand to proceed with second doses, as soon as deliveries are arranged with the pharmacies and workplaces where first doses were delivered, she said.

Henry reported 378 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the 24 hours up to May 27, an increase after two days of fewer than 300 new infections. There are 286 people in hospital, 88 of them in intensive care, and seven more deaths attributed to COVID-19. The overall infection rate is trending down rapidly after reaching a peak of more than 1,200 a day in early April.

Health Minister Adrian Dix also announced the resumption of scheduled surgeries at Lower Mainland hospitals where they were suspended to reassign beds and staff to deal with the spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations in March and April. Scheduled surgeries resumed in one of the three operating rooms at Abbotsford Regional Hospital and one of four suspended operating rooms at Surrey Memorial Hospital, with normal operations resuming by June 7 at those hospitals as well as Royal Columbian and Burnaby Hospitals.

RELATED: Whistler-Blackcomb to reopen Monday for summer

RELATED: No decision yet on reopening Canada-U.S. border


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Just Posted

Hundreds gathered at Surrey’s Holland Park Friday (June 11) in memory of the Muslim family killed in London, Ont. on Sunday (June 6). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Educating public ‘exhausting,’ says White Rock Muslim Association past president

Asad Syed says public needs to be more vocal in their condemnation

The City of White Rock turns 63 today. (file photo)
City of White Rock 2020 annual report available for review

Report to be discussed at June 28 council meeting

People were lined up around the fields at a drop-in vaccine clinic at Newton Athletic Park on Tuesday (April 27, 2021), which is one of the high-transmission neighbourhoods that are being given vaccine priority. This clinic was one of at least three to open in the city on Tuesday. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s weekly cases continue to drop, push for 80% vaccination rate citywide

BCCDC reports 263 cases for Surrey the week of May 30 to June 5

Fleetwood Park Secondary School’s 2021 commencement ceremonies were held over the course of two days, June 10 and 11. Grads went through a small, distanced ceremony in groups of four, with up to four members of the grad’s household. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s 2021 grads find creative ways to celebrate in another year of COVID-19

This year’s Grade 12 students were unable to have any large-scale events

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read