2021-04-26 BC

Press Briefing

Mostly the briefing was stats, see below.

Dr. Henry said:

  • Of the 17 people who died this weekend, one person was in a long-term care home. Two were over 90, seven were 80-90, five were 70-79, two were 60-69, and one was between 50 and 59.
  • They work with the coroner’s office to investigate all sudden unexpected deaths. Those investigations can take weeks to months. An investigation just concluded last week for an infant who died in January in Interior Health, and the coroner determined that the infant did die of COVID.
  • They are now booking vaccination appointments for people in their 60s and “high 50s”.
  • She said something in somewhat vague/coded language that I think translates to, “Don’t worry if you are an undocumented immigrant, we will NOT rat you out. You can give us your info so we can vax you.”

Dix said:

  • The number of vacant non-surge hospital beds went up from 719 to 912, and the number of vacant non-surge critical-care beds went up from 95 to 131. He said this reflects some of the actions we have taken to ensure that our healthcare workers have the support they need and that the hospitals will be available for everyone. The number of hospitalizations has levelled off, so I think the vacancy reduction came from postponing surgeries.
  • He pointed out that we’ve received 1,164,930 doses of Pfizer and administered 1,124,468 doses, which is 97% of them. At the end of yesterday we were down to 40K Pfizer doses. He asserted again that we are supply-limited, and that if we get more doses, we will use those doses quickly.
  • We’ve gotten 354,800 doses and administered 309,385 doses of Moderna. I’m not sure why we still have 45K doses of Moderna in the fridges, but I’m guessing they are using that for the occupation-based vax track.
  • We’ve gotten 314,700 doses of AZ and given 201,419 doses, but the number administered is laggy because it takes time for the pharmacies to get back to us.
  • He said that later in this week, we’re set to receive 82K doses of Moderna and 139K of Pfizer. Starting next week, we’ll get 276K per week of Pfizer. The federal government has said that we’ll get more Moderna in May, but we don’t know when or how much. We do not expect more AZ any time soon.
  • This week, a nurse passed away. 🙁
  • 35.96% of people who are eligible have gotten at least one dose.


Reminder: heavily paraphrased and very snarky.

Q: When are we getting Johnson&Johnson vaccine, and what are you going to do with it? A: 300K doses will arrive in Canada sometime this week. It will need to be thawed and sent on to the provinces, so we expect to see it next week. We are working on figuring out who’s going to get it. Because it’s one-shot, it’s good for people we might have a hard time tracking down for their second shot.

Q: If everybody will get one shot by 1 July, what restrictions are going to get eased up? The US CDC is going to ease things up, can we can we can we huh huh huh? A: We’re learning a lot from the UK, which is also delaying second doses. We might get everyone vaxxed before 1 July. (I told you so! ) BUT! We have a lot of virus circulating RIGHT NOW, so RIGHT NOW we need to keep Doing The Things.

When we get into the summer, the level of vaccinations will take a lot of the pressure off of hospitals, given that both vaccines are in the high 80s for percent effectiveness for avoiding hospitalizations. So we need to keep Doing The Things until then, at which point we can relax and go back to more normal letting public health track&trace handle little clusters.

Q: confusing question which I didn’t understand about declining shots A: Dr. H didn’t understand either. Everyone should take a shot when it’s offered to you. We gotta vax everybody, so it’s not like you’re taking a spot from someone else.

Q: How many cases of B.1.617 are from community transmission? A: Most of the ~47 cases have been from community spread. A small percentage are from travel, both from India and other places. It’s not just India.

Q: 32 businesses in FH have been closed due to exposure. Could this have been prevented with better sick day support? A: Note that it’s not exposures, it’s transmission inside the workplace which gets you shut down. Ya gotta follow your COVID Safety Plans! It’s an important part of safety to make sure your employees stay home when they are sick.

Dix: This is something Premier has been advocating for at national level. We are doing a lot to support workers, including mandating that employers have to give time off to get vaxxed.

Q: Playland is opening up, WTF? A: Yeeeeeeaaahhhh… VCH is working with Playland to figure out their Safety Plan. I had the very strong impression she wanted to say, “Yeah, those assholes announced they were opening before talking to us. We haven’t decided if they are actually going open up or not.” Now is not the time to travel to go to Playland.

Q: Are you going to make pregnant women a priority? A: Pregnant people are at a higher risk than non-pregnant people, but younger people are at lower risk anyway. She implied but didn’t say, “and pregnant people tend to be younger than most of the people who get hospitalized and/or die”. And oh by the way, if you ARE pregnant, you CAN get a shot, there have been studies recently that say you’ll be FINE. And pregnant and breastfeeding people pass their antibodies on to the babies yay!

Q: About people dying at home, can you give more details? A: The coroner said there were 38 cases March to March. In Ontario we are seeing increasing cases because people are avoiding the hospitals. Our case workers/contact tracers are highly aware of this and emphasize that they should call 811 or 911. FOLKS, GO TO THE HOSPITAL IF YOU NEED IT.

Q: We did have three tracks, but the occupation-based track seems to have fallen by the wayside, WTF? A: No it hasn’t. We got kinda sabotaged by the AZ clots, but we have kept going, but more slowly. We’ve been vaxxing first responders, educators, and childcare workers. We did the hotspot areas first, but we’re getting to the rest. All the first responders, school, and childcare staff will be vaxxed in next few weeks.

Q: Stage 4 cancer patients don’t make good antibodies after 1 dose. Will you move their second dose up? A: No. We’ve looked at this with NACI, and there are several groups of people who don’t mount as good a response. But a) antibodies are not the whole story, and we don’t actually know how many antibodies you need and b) the BEST thing for everybody is to get the case count down. I have been pointing out that you are far safer unvaccinated in New Zealand than vaccinated in India! (Also, we will probably give people their second dose sooner than four months, as fast as we can.) That’s the advice NACI has given us, that’s what we are doing, and we are monitoring different groups carefully. If we see we need to change we will. (And that’s why it’s so important to have your vax linked to your health record!)

CAVEAT: There are some individuals whose treatments mean that their doses need to get moved around, and those are being handled on a case by case basis.

Q: Based on today’s case counts, can you comment on the effectiveness of the Orders? A: Our contact tracers tell us that the number of social contacts the sick people report is lower now than it was before the orders. It’s still too high, FOLKS, STOP GOING TO OTHER PEOPLE’S HOMES!

Q: Tell us about heart infections in Israel from Pfizer. A: Uh, sorry, haven’t heard. And we haven’t seen a problem here, and we have a good adverse affects database. We have seen one blood clot, which makes me confident we would have seen heart infections. The question refers to a study which saw myocarditis.

Q: Have there been adverse effects from the vaccines here? A: Yes, usually allergic reactions — to all three vaccines. We report those on the BC CDC website.

Q: Where was the LTCH death you reported today? A: The Interior, and they were unvaccinated.

Q: Why are we still seeing old people die? A: We have been following breakthrough disease, we’ve had a small number (<0.9%), about 1000 ppl who got COVID >14 days after first dose. That’s an overestimate bc they might have been incubating before they finished their 14 days. There are a very small number of deaths in there, I don’t remember how many. Mostly people who have been vaxxed have had very mild cases.

Q: It’s been more than a month since LTCH restrictions have been lifted, how are transmissions happening these days? A: Remember, we count it as an outbreak if even one staff or resident gets infected. There have been outbreaks, but they have been limited, and the cases have been mild, which is awesome, a beacon of hope for the rest of us, and a reminder to health care workers to get vaccinated!


Today, a friend of mine booked an appointment for a vaccination appointment on Thursday. This puzzled me, as I thought that all the vax was gone. One possibility was that the province didn’t get as many takers at the pop-up clinics as they had budgeted supply for, and had sent that vax onward to the pharmacies.

I also wondered if the GenX boom really was that big. Last week, there were only 10K more AZ doses given than the previous week, and some of that would have gone to the pop-up clinics. Was it really that much different for the 40-55 year-olds than the 55-65 year-olds, I wondered.

So I went and talked to the friendly owner at Davie Pharmacy, where I got my shot.

  • He had not heard anything about the province releasing leftovers from the pop-up clinics.
  • He says he has exactly nine doses left, and each one is for someone who has an appointment.
  • He says that they got daily deliveries of vax from the big wholesalers* that almost all the pharmacies use. The province gave it to the wholesalers, the wholesalers got it to the pharmacies. *I don’t remember if there is just one wholesaler or several. I had the impression that there was just one big one.
  • He worked for Shoppers ten years ago, and says Shoppers has their own warehouses, so they don’t use the “regular” wholesalers. (I bet Costco has their own too.) It might be that Shoppers got more vax. It might be that Shoppers took back vax from regions which didn’t have a lot of demand and brought it down to the LM. It might be that Shoppers is slower to use up what they have. He said that at Davie Pharmacy, they really tried to pump through the vax (which I can attest to — they had at least two vaxxers when I was there, while Costco seemed to have only one when my spouse was there, and I’m not even sure the Costco pharmacist was vaxxing full-time).
  • He said that the 55-65 had high interest in the first week, but then it died down to where “at the end of the week, we were taking walk-ins”. (Note: Davie Pharmacy was quite busy on the second Thursday when I got poked.) He said that basically immediately after the Dr. Henry made the announcement that 40+ were eligible, he got booked solid for a week.


Fri/Sat: +881 cases, +9 deaths
Sat/Sun: +847 cases, +5 deaths
Sun/Mon: +763 cases, +3 deaths

Over the weekend: +92634 first doses, +672 second doses, of which 22930 were AZ.

Currently 484 in hospital / 158 in ICU, 8199 active cases, 12340 under monitoring, 116241 recovered.

We have 199,058 doses in the fridge, which we’ll use up in 5.5 days at last week’s rate.

We have 85,777 mRNA doses in the fridge, which we’ll use up in 3.7 days at last week’s rate.

We have 113,281 doses of AZ, which we’ll use up in 11.7 days at last week’s rate.