B.C.’s top doctor, provincial health officer Bonnie Henry, told media November 25 that she remains hopeful that B.C. will be able to roll out vaccines to protect residents from the COVID-19 virus as early as January.
This comes a day after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned that Canada may not get the vaccine until after other nations because the first countries to get access to vaccines will be those that have pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity.
The Canadian government has said that it has secured at least 358 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and that this number keeps rising.
Henry noted that Ross Brown, vice-president of COVID response for Vancouver Coastal Health, has been appointed to be a leader, along with Henry, and deputy minister of health Stephen Brown, of B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccine program to make sure that vaccines are available to roll out across the province as soon as they arrive. Brown’s addition to that leadership team is in part because of the complexity of the task, Henry said.
She noted that the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and “our logistics teams have been pulling together, working with the federal government to understand the requirements to safely get the right vaccine, and [it] to the right people as quickly as possible in the most efficient way, starting in early 2021.”
Several pharmaceutical companies have released positive clinical trial results.
Pfizer and BioNTech released a November 18 press release claiming that its tests found that its drug was 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection. One catch, however, is that the vaccine has to be kept at a temperature of -70 Celsius.
Then came Moderna, which reported a week later that its trial showed its vaccine to be 95% effective, with the vaccine only needing to be stored at -20% Celsius.
On November 23 came news that the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca have a vaccine that is said to also be up to 90% effective. It can be stored at between -2 and -8 degrees Celsius, and is said to come at the cheapest price tag.