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.
Dr. Bonnie Henry said there should have been a better heads up provided to those expecting to get another shot this week.
“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.
“I regret our communications were not able to keep up as fast as the decision-making.”
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.
“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.
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.
That would have left the province with very little vaccine left to give out as first doses.
“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.”View link »