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B.C. looks to target Surrey for COVID-19 vaccination, including immunizing teachers

Click to play video: 'B.C. reports 1,785 new COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths over three days' B.C. reports 1,785 new COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths over three days
WATCH: Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reports 1,785 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, March 22, and 16 additionals deaths in the last 72-hours. Dr. Henry also provides an update on the AstraZeneca vaccine after a U.S. trial data shows 79% efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19. – Mar 22, 2021

B.C.’s top doctor said the province is looking to bolster vaccinations in Surrey, the region hardest hit by COVID-19.

“We’re looking at a whole bunch of things around the communities where risk is highest and Surrey is the highest in the province,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday.

“We are looking at several different strategies, including immunization of people in the education system, but also targeting businesses and some of the communities.”

Click to play video: 'Health Minister Adrian Dix reminds British Columbians not to gather indoors' Health Minister Adrian Dix reminds British Columbians not to gather indoors
Health Minister Adrian Dix reminds British Columbians not to gather indoors – Mar 22, 2021

The province’s supply of AstraZeneca vaccine gives B.C. the flexibility to target communities where transmission is highest, Henry said, adding that the province hopes to receive even more AstraZeneca doses in the next week.

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Read more: British Columbia prioritizing teachers, child-care staff and first responders for COVID shot

Last week, the province announced that teachers were among the professions included on a list of workers to be prioritized to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

“We don’t have enough vaccine to do everybody in the school system right now so we will be prioritizing by where the risk is greatest,” Henry said Monday.

On Tuesday, Surrey School District Supt. Jordan Tinney said the district has been given approval to work with Fraser Health on vaccinating staff at all K-to-12 schools.

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Henry said the province continues to see low rates of transmission in the school settings but that schools reflect transmission in the community.

Click to play video: 'BCTF president reacts to the news teachers are being moved up in the vaccine queue' BCTF president reacts to the news teachers are being moved up in the vaccine queue
BCTF president reacts to the news teachers are being moved up in the vaccine queue – Mar 18, 2021

“All of the educators in the school system are part of our priority group because of the role that they play in supporting the education system and how disruptive it is when we have exposure events given the high rates of transmission in our community,” she said.

“It’s very similar to why we are prioritizing police services, fire services, our emergency medical services, not because they’re at high risk, but because they have an important function in society that can be disrupted, and disrupted quite severely, if we start to get clusters and people have to be self-isolating.”

Read more: B.C. reports 1,785 new COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths over three days

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The province reported 1,785 new COVID-19 cases over the past three days, the majority of which were in the Fraser Health region, where Surrey is located.

Click to play video: 'Health Minister Adrian Dix reminds British Columbians not to gather indoors' Health Minister Adrian Dix reminds British Columbians not to gather indoors
Health Minister Adrian Dix reminds British Columbians not to gather indoors – Mar 22, 2021

Earlier this month, the province launched a campaign to immunize all the adults in the communities of Prince Rupert and nearby Port Edward. Vaccination clinics there offered the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

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