2021-10-05 BC

Press Briefing

At today’s press briefing, Dr. Henry and/or Minister Dix said:

  • Moar boosters! They are expanding the booster program to the clinically extremely vulnerable. Dr.H rattled off a long list of conditions which would make you eligible, including but not limited to solid organ transplant, getting chemo or radiation, genetically immunocompromised, taking certain immunosuppressants, uncontrolled HIV, dialysis, severe kidney disease, etc. If you are on the list, expect to get a letter inviting you soon. If you haven’t been contacted by October 8, get in touch with your health care provider.
  • They have been working with US CDC, colleagues in UK/EU/Mexico/Caribbean to get them to recognize vaccine regimes approved in Canada but not (yet) in those countries. “Please be patient, things are moving quickly.”
  • WHO has been reviewing data on mix&match.
  • The province is going to return ~300K doses to the federal government so they can donate to COVAX. NB: I don’t think we HAVE 300K doses on hand. According to the dashboard, the province has 64,551 more doses delivered of Comirnaty, 111,981 of Spikevax, and 38,363 of Vaxzevria than we have injected, totaling 214,895 doses.
  • There’s an old order which says that healthcare workers in LTCH must be vaccinated by 12 October; there are a few tweaks. Now healthcare workers must have their first dose by 12 October and their second dose by 26 October. If not, they will be placed on unpaid leave of absence.
  • All provincial public health workers will have to be vaccinated as well.
  • All visitors, volunteers, and providers of other services (like hairdressers or podiatrists) also need to be single / double vaxxed by October 12 / 26.
  • Dix rattled off a bunch of numbers about vaccine uptake, but basically we’re doing well but of course need to do better. Among long-term health care workers, in all the Health Authorities except Northern, they have a first dose vax rate in the low-to-mid 90s, and second dose rate in the high 80s/low 90s. Northern has 88% first dose / 79% second dose. Assisted living facilities have about a 5% higher vax rate than long-term care homes.
  • The province was at about 10K active cases in the summer, went down to about 1000, now we are back at about 6K active cases. Some contact tracers got moved elsewhere when there was a low number of active cases; many have been deployed back, plus we added some, so we now have about 1400 contact tracers.
  • Dix rattled off numbers for beds, surge beds, etc. Basically, the number of people in hospital has stayed relatively constant, but that’s because the province is actively managing the hospital usage by cutting back on scheduled surgeries. He urged people to get vaccinated.

Q&A heavily paraphrased!

  • Q: Site C keeps having outbreaks, should BC Hydro make vaccines mandatory? A: Yeah, we think so and have told them so, but we don’t make the rules for Crown Corporations.
  • Q: Public Service workers work in controlled environments. Teachers work in very chaotic environments. Why not a vax mandate for teachers? A: I am limited in what I can do with Public Health Orders: I have to have reasonable grounds to believe that there is a health hazard. Obviously health care is one such place, but schools and work camps are not as clear, so we are working to see if we can reach the same result in a more inclusive manner. If individual school districts want to institute vax mandates, more power to them.
  • Q: How many health care workers are vaxxed? A: 96% of healh care workers are vaccinated. (NB: I am not entirely sure that the 96% was all health care workers, the video was a little confusing there.)
  • Q: First Nations Health Authority is calling for boosters. Will they get them? A: We are still watching for signs of waning, looking at people who got earlier doses and those who had a shorter dose interval, but our first priority is to get doses in the arms of the unvaxxed. We also might use third doses as an outbreak management tool.
  • Q: There are some Northern Health mayors who endorse anti-vax sentiment, wtf? A: No they don’t. Yes they do. No they don’t.
  • Q: Data on the BC CDC website says that the vaxxed people who die are over 60. Why not just give boosters to everyone over 60? A: We aren’t seeing a lot of breakthrough cases in elders living in the community, but we’re looking at that, NACI is looking at that. There are lots of considerations, we’ll update you in a few weeks.


 +593 cases, +0 deaths, +1,451 first doses, +9,454 second doses. 

Currently 345 in hospital / 144 in ICU,937 active cases. 182,045 recovered.

first dosessecond doses
of adults88.8%82.5%
of over-12s88.3%81.7%
of all BCers80.5%74.3%