2021-03-29 BC

Press Briefing

We have seen a big surge in COVID cases in the past week, and pub health decided that warranted stricter measures. In particular, Whistler has been a trouble spot. Not only have people gotten COVID there, they have taken it back home with them to various locations (because they were not respecting the travel ban).

So, for the next three weeks:

  • No indoor dining at restaurants at all. Restaurants can still do takeout; they can still serve on patios.
  • No adult group physical activities indoors. (Some low-intensity classes had been allowed, like yoga, but no more.)
  • No indoor church services.
  • The Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort must close.
  • Essential travel only.
  • Work from home if possible.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended pausing the use of AZ for people under 55 due to concerns about blood clotting, and BC is going along with that. Dr. Henry was very careful to call it a pause, and said they wanted more info from AZ (on what, I wasn’t quite sure). She seemed to expect this pause to last a few days.

While a specific type clotting is now clearly a side effect, I personally am disappointed because clotting is really rare, they understand how to recognize it and treat it. (Here’s a nice lay summary.)

However, I must admit that it’s actually really low-stakes to pause AZ right now.

  • We only have ~32K doses left over from our initial SII batch.
  • We were not using the AZ very quickly, doing about 3000 shots per day on the occupation-based track.
  • We are not going to get any more SII for a while because of India’s vaccine embargo.
  • We are about to get ~200K doses on loan from the US, but because Canada has not given regulatory approval to the US AZ factory, we can’t use that vax immediately anyway. Regulatory approval is expected to take days, not weeks or months.
  • We’re about to get a huge amount of vax: ~240 kilodoses of mRNA both this week and next week, in addition to the 127K we had in the fridges this morning.

So really, we don’t need the AZ doses right at this moment. They switched to Pfizer for the occupation track for the short term, but — as I said — we’ve got lots of mRNA vax in the short term.


Fri/Sat: +936 cases, +3 deaths
Sat/Sun: +805 cases, +1 death
Sun/Mon: +774 cases, +2 deaths

+61,180 first doses, +56 second doses, +9993 AZ doses.

VOCs: +249 of B.1.1.7, +1 of B.1.351, +71 of P.1.

Currently 299 in hospital / 79 in ICU, 6,902 active cases, 10,377 under monitoring, 89,722 recovered.

Vax clinics

BC is still ramping up its immunizations. This past weekend, BC gave ~20K shots per day, while last weekend it was ~16Kshots/day.

The “big” vaccination clinics are starting to open! Today, for example, the Vancouver Convention Centre site opened. (I thought of the sites which had been open before as the little baby practice clinics. We’ll see if my characterization of them was correct or not.)

They had said they would open the mass vax clinics on 12 April, so they are two weeks ahead of schedule (though maybe they are not all opened yet.)