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Dr. Bonnie Henry apologizes for ‘bad communications’ with people whose 2nd vaccine dose was cancelled

Click to play video: 'Concerns over second vaccine dose timing and cancelled clinics' Concerns over second vaccine dose timing and cancelled clinics
Some B.C. seniors say they were shocked and surprised when their planned COVID-19 vaccination clinics were cancelled, some with just hours notice, following the province's change to the timeline between shots. Richard Zussman reports – Mar 5, 2021

B.C.’s provincial health officer apologized this week for poor communication after tens of thousands of scheduled second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were cancelled in the province.

The vaccinations were pushed back until the summer after the province announced plans to extend the gap between first and second vaccine doses from 42 days to 112 days.

Read more: Leading B.C. doctor says 1 shot of COVID-19 vaccine is good enough — for now

Dr. Bonnie Henry said there should have been a better heads up provided to those expecting to get another shot this week.

Click to play video: 'Questions about safety of delaying second COVID-19 vaccine dose' Questions about safety of delaying second COVID-19 vaccine dose
Questions about safety of delaying second COVID-19 vaccine dose – Mar 2, 2021

“I will regret and apologize to those communities, to the long-term care homes and to individuals who had a second dose scheduled that had been postponed … I know that came as a shock for many people,” Henry said.

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“I regret our communications were not able to keep up as fast as the decision-making.”

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Diana Chappell was expecting to get her vaccination as an essential visitor on Tuesday. Her 91-year old mother lives in Orchard Manor in Kelowna and also had her second dose cancelled.

Chappell said it was devastating for her mom to find out last minute her second dose would not be happening.

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“To cancel on these people who have been hardest hit in the pandemic seemed very inhumane. We need to take into account their mental health,” Chappell said.

There were also some people who had first shots cancelled because they missed the first dose when clinics originally came to their care homes. Vaccination leader Dr. Penny Ballem says the health authorities are now working to re-schedule immediately.

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Read more: B.C. says all eligible adults should get first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by end of July

It is unclear how many of the cancelled shots due to clinics being moved were first doses.

“The health authorities are putting in program of going out and on a continued basis picking up those residents who have not yet been vaccinated,” Ballem said.

Henry said the province spent a lot of time looking at the issue of extending the dosage gap and the impact it would have on the current immunization plan.

British Columbia needed to make the decision rapidly because the province was coming up to a time this week where tens of thousands of second doses were scheduled to be administered.

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Focus BC: Mass vaccine rollout challenges – Mar 5, 2021

That would have left the province with very little vaccine left to give out as first doses.

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“Please know that this was made in the spirit of understanding data and maximizing the benefit to all of us,” Henry said.

“That dose you didn’t receive on Tuesday or Wednesday or today is now being administered to a community member, to another member of our family, our community here in B.C., to protect them. And ultimately it will bring us all closer to getting to our post-pandemic world.”

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