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‘Every order applies to you’: A vaccine does not mean you can ignore health guidelines

A server wears a protective face mask as he passes a coffee to a customer in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

B.C.’s health officials say even if you have received a vaccine or one dose of the vaccine, it is not a free pass to do what you want and ignore health orders.

“Every other order applies to you as well; every single one, every bit of guidance applies to you as well,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said Wednesday.

“Right now, the rules apply to everybody. And to stay safe, to ensure the people you love stay safe, it is important to follow those rules.”

More than 1.1 million British Columbians — about 21 per cent of the population — has now had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Of them, 87,820 people have also had a second dose.

The province has administered a total of 1,190,832 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, of which 87,820 were second doses.

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“When you are vaccinated, the switch to make antibodies in your body is slowly turned up and more and more antibodies get made,” the BC CDC says. “Antibodies are what give you immunity.

“However, when it comes to COVID-19 we also don’t know the number of antibodies needed to be considered fully protected. We are currently using our best estimate, based on what we know about our bodies.”

The organization echoes Dix’s message by saying that “after you get a vaccine, it will still be extremely important to continue to practice all the preventive measures that have been recommended, including washing your hands, maintaining a safe physical distance, wearing a mask, and staying home when sick.”

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Dix’s words come as the province of Manitoba reported 10 people have died from COVID-19 despite receiving a first or second dose of the vaccine and it is urging Manitobans to continue to be cautious after getting inoculated.

None of the deaths have come from people who contracted COVID-19 more than 14 days after receiving their second dose.

“We are encouraged, though, that out of the hundreds of thousands of people who have received vaccines, that we still have only seen 111 cases of COVID showing up after the vaccine, which works out to … about 0.6 per cent, so incredibly low,” Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of Manitoba’s vaccine task force, said Wednesday.

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Educators in the Vancouver Coastal Health region will be among the next to be vaccinated against the virus.

In a letter to staff, the Vancouver School District said it has been informed that Vancouver Coastal Health will be providing vaccinations to all staff in all VCH school districts.

The health authority has secured a supply of vaccines that will be made available starting Friday, the district said.

The number of British Columbians in hospital with COVID-19 hit a new high Wednesday, as the province reported another 1,168 new cases and six additional deaths.

There were 397 people in hospital, up 20 from Tuesday and well over the previous record of 381 set in early January.

Among those in hospital, 120 patients were in intensive care, just one shy of the record 121 reported Monday.

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Dix said Wednesday that hospitalizations were a lagging indicator, reflecting where the province was last week.

“Test positivity over the last few days (is) coming down, which is a good sign, but we’re still way above where we need to be,” he said.

He added that no formal decision had been made on extending restrictions on indoor dining and group physical fitness activities. B.C.’s food and beverage industry said Tuesday it had met with provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, who indicated they could be extended well into May.

“The situation remains very serious, we’ve seen some effect from it but we need to keep doubling down on ensuring physical distancing, because this is a virus that transmits through social interaction,” Dix said.

“People with vaccines are safer than everyone else. But it takes several weeks to build up immunity. So no celebrations, to say the least. And every other order applies to you as well. Every single one.”

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