2021-06-03 BC


A friend of mine who lives in Surrey got his invitation to book his second dose, and everywhere in Fraser Health was booked through the end of JULY! (He ended up getting a slot on 20 June at the Convention Centre in downtown Van.) It’s not clear, however, if there were appointments which got full or if they just aren’t scheduling so far into the future.

Press Briefing

Dr. Henry said:

  • 71.8% adults have gotten one dose; 68.9% of people over 12 have gotten 1 dose.
  • On Tuesday, NACI said it was okay to mix and match. If you got Moderna for #1, we’ll try to get you Moderna for #2, but you might get Pfizer instead. It’s cool, really.
  • If you got AZ, you get to choose if you want AZ or mRNA. Starting Monday, your pharmacy will phone you to book an appointment. (Please don’t call them, they will call you.) If you don’t want AZ, tell them, and then follow the invitation you’ll eventually get from the registration system.
  • The risk of blood clots from AZ are much lower for the second dose.
  • The side effects of AZ+Pfizer might be worse than AZ+AZ (but they are still mild). NB: “Mild” to doctors means “no long term harm”, but it might still suck for a day.
  • There’s some limited info that says that AZ creates a slightly stronger cell response for long-term protection.
  • Myself, I would prefer to get a second shot of the same as the first, but I could understand if someone wanted something different for the second shot.
  • Our clinics are very busy and we use up the vax we have with very little slack. Fortunately, Pfizer has been really reliable, and their shipments almost always start showing up on Monday afternoons.
  • We could give another 100K doses per week if we had the supply.
  • Parents, you can bring your kids to clinics — just showing up — but it would help us if you would book everybody.
  • Don’t worry, we WILL have enough vax for two doses for everybody by the end of summer.
  • We still have transmission, so we have to keep Doing The Things.

Dix said:

  • A bunch of fast boring stats about surgical renewal and how everybody is doing really great work, he so appreciates it. There’s one hospital which is having an outbreak so won’t be back online really fast, but all the other surge hospitals will be back on the promised schedule.


Q: With so many COVID patients on Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines, what about people with heart patients who need ECMO? What are you doing about the ECMO shortage? A: (Geeks out about ECMO machines for a moment.) I am not aware that there are people who have had issues because of lack of access to ECMO, and that’s a testament to the teams working across the province.

Q: What about AZ expiring at the end of June? A: You’re thinking of Ontario, which had doses expiring at the end of May. As we use vax, we get more info about stability, and Health Canada got more data from the company and found that they could extend the shelf life of that lot. We don’t have any of that lot, we used it up. We have about 20K doses that are expiring on June 27th and June 30th. We are quite confident that we’ll use it up fast.

Q: We’ve already gotten to 70%, does that mean we can go straight to Stage 3? A: No. All the criteria matter, not just vax %. That was a MINIMUM.

Q: The Delta variant is taking off in Peel, is it taking off in BC? A: We have had about 300 cases, that’s posted every week. We aren’t seeing it replace the more common Alpha and Gamma. As the cases come down, the VOCs come down too.

Note that we have switched our screening tests. The SNP tests couldn’t distinguish between Delta and Gamma, so we are now doing whole-genome sequencing on all of the new cases every day. It has been transmitted in a number of clusters, including one care home, but the measures we take for any of the variants work for all of them. And note that two doses are still really effective against Delta. NB: She did not mention that one dose kind of sucks against Delta.

Q: Are you targeting second doses to Fraser Health? A: We’re going by when you got your first dose, and because Fraser tended to get first doses earlier, they will tend to get their second doses earlier.

Q: Do you believe AZ from pharmacies will be available to people before mRNA through clinics. A: It will depend on where you are, but yeah, probably. Ed: until they run out. There’s only enough AZ right now for about half of Team AZ. There’s another shipment coming by the end of June which will be enough for almost everybody.

Q: Are you happy about how things are going in Surrey? A: Oh, absofuckinglutely. NB: Not a direct quote.

Q: We’re going to hit 80% of adults vaxxed by next week, what do we need for herd immunity? A: I wish we knew. NB: Not approaching anything like a direct quote. It depends upon which strains show up. But the important thing is that if we get cases down low enough, then we can manage it with all the normal things that pub health always does, like test/trace/track. We do know that the risk of widespread infection goes way down at 75%, and even farther at 90%. 100% is even better, so we’d like to get everyone vaccinated! With their second doses, those are important!

Q: Some people are vax hesitant, how will you reach them? A: That’s something that pub health has studied for years and years even before the pandemic. It boils down to the three C’s: Complacency, Confidence, and Convenience. We hit Complacency by doing outreach. We hit Confidence by sharing as much data as we can about safety of the vax (and make sure that healthcare providers also have this information). We hit Convenience by taking away as many barriers as possible, e.g. providing in languages people understand, doing clinics where people are, etc.

Q: What is the province doing to get the 70+ to register? A: We have been getting the word out. We have snailmail addresses for everybody (and their vax history) even though we don’t always have phone numbers or email addresses. We are going to snailmail info to everybody who got a first dose. If you are over 70, call the registration number and we will help you.

Yesterday, the biggest group which registered was the over-70s. Currently, the second-highest registered is the 70-74 year-olds. So people are getting the message.

Q: If a whole family went to a pop-up clinic, are they all registered? A: Yep!


+199 cases, +2 deaths, +40,101 first doses, +21,440 second doses.

Currently 224 in hospital / 62 in ICU, 2563 active cases, 140537 recovered.