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B.C. COVID-19 vaccine plan: Who gets priority and what is the schedule?

Click to play video 'Dr. Bonnie Henry on timeline of COVID-19 vaccine rollout in B.C.' Dr. Bonnie Henry on timeline of COVID-19 vaccine rollout in B.C.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers a reporter's question about the timeline of the COVID_19 vaccine rollout in British Columbia – Dec 3, 2020

B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said she is hoping to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine in the province in the first week of January.

Henry said Thursday there will only be enough for people in priority groups to start, including vulnerable seniors and health-care workers.

Read more: B.C. reports 694 new COVID-19 cases and double-digit deaths for 10th consecutive day

“We are planning to be able to put vaccines into arms, and the first week of January is what we’re planning for to make sure we are absolutely ready, by then at the very least,” Henry said.

She expects there will be two vaccines available to start — the Pfizer vaccine, which is under review right now by Health Canada, and the Moderna vaccine, which is currently in the process of obtaining notice of compliance in Canada.

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Henry said it is expected that Canada will get about six million doses of the vaccine and those will be distributed across the country.

Click to play video 'Federal government, provinces and Canadian Armed Forces ramp up COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan' Federal government, provinces and Canadian Armed Forces ramp up COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan
Federal government, provinces and Canadian Armed Forces ramp up COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan – Dec 3, 2020

The Canadian military has been brought in to help figure out how the vaccine is going to be distributed and administered and the deep freezers needed to store the vaccine are set to be plugged in and ready to use by Dec. 14.

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However, it will be up to the provinces to decide who is at the front of the line.

“Our first priority is to make sure we are protecting those who are most at risk,” Henry said Thursday, namely “our seniors and elders in our communities and long-term care homes and in hospitals, here in B.C.”

“Once we have more vaccine available, we will be making it available to all of us in B.C. And that’s when we can get to that point of managing and controlling this pandemic.”

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Read more: Support for mandatory coronavirus vaccine keeps falling even as cases spike: Ipsos

Henry added they are expecting more vaccine doses to be available by April, 2021, and that by Sept. 2021, everyone who wants a vaccine will have received one.

“So, we expect there will be a good lot of people who will be immunized by the summer and through the fall next year, but by the end of the year, anybody who wants vaccine in B.C. and in Canada should have it available to them and should be immunized,” Henry said.

More details on the rollout plan in B.C. are expected to be released next week.

Click to play video 'British Columbians divided over mandatory vaccinations' British Columbians divided over mandatory vaccinations
British Columbians divided over mandatory vaccinations – Dec 3, 2020

It seems British Columbians are still divided at this time on whether or not they will get the vaccine when it becomes available.

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Henry said Wednesday the province does not have a mandatory vaccine program and health officials do not expect COVID-19 immunizations to be mandatory.

Last week, polling done exclusively by Ipsos for Global News showed a drop in support for a mandatory vaccine since the beginning of the month, when it stood at 61 per cent.

That support now stands at 59 per cent, a total drop of 13 percentage points since May 2020.

Read more: A coronavirus vaccine is almost ready. But will you take it?

As well, even though 59 per cent said they would support mandatory vaccination, more than 70 per cent also said they feel nervous about taking a vaccine that was created and rolled out so quickly.

Sixty-nine per cent cited the potential for long-term effects as a major concern.

Click to play video 'Tackling vaccine hesitancy amid fight to end COVID-19' Tackling vaccine hesitancy amid fight to end COVID-19
Tackling vaccine hesitancy amid fight to end COVID-19 – Dec 2, 2020