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B.C. aims to immunize all first responders, teachers and child-care workers by mid-May

Click to play video: 'B.C. frontline worker COVID-19 vaccination program to be expanded' B.C. frontline worker COVID-19 vaccination program to be expanded
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix discuss the vaccine rollout for police and fire responders, school staff and child care workers – Apr 29, 2021

British Columbia is aiming to have all first responders, educators and child care workers vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-May.

Those three groups are at the top of the list in B.C.’s priority front-line vaccine program, and began being immunized in late March.

The rollout of the plan was slowed when concerns emerged about rare blood clots associated with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which was being used for the program.

Click to play video: 'Dr. Bonnie Henry apologizes for ‘miscommunication and the confusion’ around pop-up vaccination clinics' Dr. Bonnie Henry apologizes for ‘miscommunication and the confusion’ around pop-up vaccination clinics
Dr. Bonnie Henry apologizes for ‘miscommunication and the confusion’ around pop-up vaccination clinics – Apr 29, 2021

Since then, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the plan has moved forward using the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, with about 15 per cent of existing supplies going to front-line workers.

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With a large shipment of Pfizer vaccine expected next week, Henry said the process should speed up.

Read more: Dwindling AstraZeneca supply sends B.C. women on vaccine road trip

“Our worker program will be able to be accelerated as well, because 15 per cent means a much higher volume of vaccine we’ll be able to provide people,” she said at her Thursday briefing.

“As we have more vaccine coming in … we expect to have those groups completed within the next three weeks, by the middle of May. That’s the goal.”

B.C. began immunizing the three priority front-line groups in virus hotspots such as Surrey, before moving on to other parts of the province.

Click to play video: '‘This Is Our Shot’ vaccine information campaign' ‘This Is Our Shot’ vaccine information campaign
‘This Is Our Shot’ vaccine information campaign – Apr 29, 2021

As more vaccine becomes available, Henry said the province will begin looking at how to immunize other priority groups on the list.

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That includes grocery store workers, postal workers, bylaw and quarantine officers, manufacturing workers, wholesale/warehousing employees, cross-border transport workers, corrections workers and staff living in congregate housing at places such as ski hills.

Read more: Health Canada stands behind AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot after 1st blood clot death reported

Henry said B.C. is expecting its first shipment of the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine next week, some of which will be used to target front-line workers.

She also urged anyone working in a front-line sector who becomes eligible for a shot through the ongoing age-based vaccination program to take that vaccine as soon as it is available.

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