Health officials are set to detail how children will be incorporated into B.C.’s mass vaccination campaign “in the coming days,” according to the province’s top doctor.
With Health Canada approving the use of the Pfizer Inc. vaccine on children 12-15 last week, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday details on the province’s own plans for vaccinating younger Canadians will be unveiled shortly.
“We have had ongoing discussions … about how we factor in 12- to 17-year-olds in our program. But the age-based program is based on risk and, yes, we are moving down that age cohort as quickly as we can and we will have more information on where 12- to 17-year-olds fit in that program in the coming days,” Henry said.
The Pfizer vaccine is the most widely used one throughout the country and it is the first of Canada’s four approved vaccines to get the nod for children 12-15 years old. The vaccine has been permitted for children 16 years and up since December 2020.
To date, 2,053,045 British Columbians have received at least one vaccine dose, while 106,058 have received two.
Penny Ballem, executive lead for B.C.’s immunization plan, said last week she expects a significant acceleration of second doses to begin by the third week of June and that the current interval between first and second doses — 16 weeks — will be reduced.
Meanwhile, Henry said more details on opening up indoor dining across the province will also be presented in the coming days as doses are being prioritized for food and restaurant workers.
She said the lifting of current restrictions for restaurants will be contingent on achieving lower rates of cases, “but we’re not at that place quite yet.”
Health Minister Adrian Dix also confirmed Monday that the previously expected shipment of 40,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine have yet to be delivered.
About 275,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are due to arrive in B.C. each week through to the end of May.
June will mark an even more significant ramp-up in deliveries, with around 328,000 doses arriving weekly all month.