Tuesday is a big day in B.C., as the first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was administered to a health worker.
Nisha Yunus, 64, has worked in the same long-term care home in the Vancouver Coastal Health region for 41 years. She had the honour of getting B.C.’s first COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday afternoon with B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, standing nearby.
“This is a turning point for all of us,” Henry said. “As I’ve said before, we’re in a storm, and this the light at the end of the tunnel. We have a ways to go yet, but this is an important momentous day, where we’re starting to see the end.”
About 4,000 of the 30,000 doses that Canada has received are being transferred to two sites in the Lower Mainland: one in Metro Vancouver and one in the Fraser Valley.
The exact locations are not being disclosed due to concerns about sabotage or tampering.
Officials expect the vaccine to become available to those first in line all around the province next week.
However, they are cautioning that everyone still needs to do their part to flatten the COVID-19 curve.
“There is still a ways to go,” Henry said Monday. “It’s going to be hard and it’s especially going to be hard these next few weeks because we have potential and we are going to be saving lives with every single dose that we give, but it’s not enough yet to stop transmission in our community so we need to keep up and protect everybody.”
First in line to receive the vaccine are front-line health workers connected to long-term care and those working in intensive care, emergency rooms, and hospitals where COVID-19 patients are being treated.
Next are residents of long-term care homes and seniors over the age of 80, followed by different groups based on vulnerability.
B.C. health officials are hoping to have 400,000 people vaccinated by March.
The first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived in Canada on Sunday evening, with the first doses administered in Ontario and Quebec.