2021-03-22 BC


Fri/Sat: +556 cases, +9 deaths
Sat/Sun: +598 cases, +4 deaths
Sun/Mon: +631 cases, +3 deaths

Over the weekend, +49,386 first doses, +22 second doses, +146 cases identified of B.1.1.7, +0 cases of B.1.351, +20 cases of P.1.

Currently 303 in hospital / 80 in ICU, 5290 active cases, 9,330 under active monitoring, 85,746 recovered.

The stats don’t give great news, but it’s better than I feared it would be today.


In addition to the stats, there were the normal exhortations.

On the social media I frequent, I’m seeing grumbling about how we should DO SOMETHING instead of just giving more exhortations: close restaurants, close schools, put in mask mandates in schools, put in mask mandates in gyms, etc. Some things that came up in the briefing:

  • When asked where the transmission was happening, Dr. Henry mentioned small private gatherings, workplaces, and some youth sports (not the kids, the parents). She said that there were not a lot of big outbreaks, but lots of small ones.
  • They are doing something: they are sending rapid response teams to the workplace outbreak sites, now armed with vax. Many people have asked what good vax is after an outbreak, since it took 2 weeks for vax to be useful, but they clearly thought it was useful. My guesses:
    • There is something called “Ring vaccination” where you vaccinate all the contacts of the infected people. Wikipedia says: “Many vaccines take several weeks to induce immunity, and thus do not provide immediate protection. However, even if some of the ill person’s contacts are already infected, ring vaccination can prevent the virus from being transmitted again, to the ill contacts’ contacts.A few vaccines can protect even if they are given just after infection; ring vaccination is somewhat more effective for vaccines providing this post-exposure prophylaxis.” I don’t know how much the COVID vax helps in this manner.
    • When they go out, it’s possible that they don’t just vaccinate the people at the work site, but also the households and friends of the infected. If Fred is infected on Monday and Fred’s roommate is vaxxed on Wednesday, and Fred accidentally exposes Roommate the next week while he’s supposed to be isolating, then Roommate has some protection against being infected.
    • Another way of looking at it is that lightning does strike twice. If the poultry processing plant got hit once, maybe it is likely to get hit again.
  • They said they were going to step up enforcement.

Dr. Henry mentioned again that the VOCs were not causing a big rise in cases, that they seem to be replacing cases and not augmenting them. That seems really strange to me, especially given how so many countries have had explosive growth, and my guess is that we’re not seeing explosions because of hard work by public health in e.g. contact tracing (and maybe vaxxing).

Henry and Dix were not happy about the level of cases that we are currently at, but they have never been happy. I don’t want them to be happy until we are at zero.

They were asked why sometimes people younger than the official age are able to book appointments. Henry and Dix gave what I thought were kind of vague, evasive answers which included (paraphrasing)

  • shrug Whatever, we want to get shots in arms.
  • We do have controls in place, like if someone shows up at the clinic who is too young, we can turn them away there.
  • It varies a bit by location, some places have more slots available than others.
  • You can’t always tell why someone is at that spot in line.
  • Mostly people are following the rules.

Those are true, but something seemed off. I had the sense that they were avoiding saying one or more of the following:

  • Yeah, those Telus call centre people are fucking idiots and can’t follow the script.
  • VCH still hasn’t caught up from the disastrous first day, so we’re letting people through in VCH.
  • Some health authorities have way more appointment slots per person than others, so we’re being lax with those areas.
  • Yeah, there are going to be mistakes with every big project like this, and it’s just not worth stressing about a few cheaters here and there.

Heavily paraphrased Q&A other than what I’ve discussed already:

Q: If there isn’t much transmission in schools, why are teachers on the occupation track? A: The occupation track looks both at how risky the job is and how important it is, and schools are hella important. BTW, this is why we are vaxxing first responders — fire, police. It’s not because there’s a greater risk of getting COVID for first responders, it’s that we really need them.

Q: Will you vax the Surrey teachers preferentially, given that Surrey is such a shitshow? A: Yes. We want to get vax to the areas where the problem is.

Q: In the race between VOCs and vax, who is winning? A: I think you’ll see a big difference in case counts from vaxxing in about three weeks. We made a concerted effort to vax in shelters in DTES and we have seen a big drop there, places like the UK have seen big drops too.

Q: How do you use up end-of-day doses? A: Multiple things, and it depends on the location. First, we are careful with doling it out. Then it varies: some places we take it to the local Emergency Room, some places we call people who are up the next day to come in, etc. We have a detailed process on what to do and we have been really good at not wasting doses. NB: This might be why at the clinic last week, I only saw one guy putting vax into syringes and the vaccinators going and getting small numbers of needles after just about every patient. If the filler gets too far ahead, then that increases the chances of wasting doses.

Vax clinics

Another good day for bookings:

Health AuthorityBookings Today
Vancouver Island7,069
Vancouver Coastal6,650

This isn’t a big surprise — Dr. Henry said in response to a question on Thursday that they wanted to have pharmacists give shots eventually, when we got more AZ — but the province formally announced that they are going to eventually have pharmacists give shots.

We are going to be getting a lot of vax in the next month. This is what I know about:

Week startingmRNAAZ
22 March195K68K
29 March241K187K
5 April244K
12 April138K
19 April295K136K
26 April138K
3 May199K68K
10 May138K
17 May199K
24 May138K68K

As you can see, we are getting a LOT of vax in the next few weeks. I think it’s more than the current clinics are going to be able to deliver. Then, on April 12, we’ll open up the mass vax clinics. (I believe the clinics which are running now are the little baby practice clinics. Good on them for being able to handle as much as we are throwing at them so far!) I think we’ll be able to go for a week or two with what we didn’t use in the little clinics, but then we might have more delivery capacity than supply. We’ll still vax a lot of people, it just won’t be as much as we could.

Now, to be fair, it’s hard to see that far in the future, and there are a lot of places that more vax could come from:

  • COVAX. Canada is supposed to get 1.9M doses of AZ from COVAX, but it’s unclear when that will happen.
  • AstraZeneca, Inc. Canada has ordered 20M doses from then, and they have delivered 0M so far.
  • J&J. Canada has ordered a minimum of 10M doses of their (1-shot) vax and they have delivered 0M so far.
  • Novavax. I expect Canada to approve Novavax around the first week of April, and Canada has ordered 52M doses from them. (They probably won’t be able to deliver a lot right away, however.)
  • Moderna. Moderna is supposed to deliver 44M doses to Canada, and they have really struggled to get the first 2M to us.
  • Pfizer, my secret crush, has been doing an awesome job of getting vax to us. They have gotten us vax early multiple times (after they finished their factory upgrade).