COVID-19: Johnson & Johnson vaccine to arrive in B.C. next week

J&J vaccine will be the fourth available for use in Canada

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Canada’s fourth approved vaccine is expected to arrive in B.C. next week, adding another level of protection as the seven-day average daily COVID-19 case count starts to fall.

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the federal government was set to receive a shipment of 300,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by the end of this week.

“We don’t have dates yet, but we’re looking at, hopefully, some time next week,” Henry said, as she reported 2,491 new cases of COVID-19 over the past three days and 17 deaths.

She said the advantage that the J & J vaccine had over the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines was that it only required one dose and didn’t need to be stored in super-cold temperatures.

“That gives us some flexibility in targeting certain populations, particularly people who may be challenging to find for Dose 2,” Henry said.

B.C.’s three vaccines in use all require a second dose that Henry has extended in order to get as many people one shot as possible. So far, less than two per cent of British Columbians (89,035) are fully immunized despite more than 1.6 million doses administered.


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“We don’t yet know if it makes a difference for somebody to receive that second dose at 21 weeks or 21 days or 28 days or at six months or four months or three months,” Henry said. “We will provide everybody with their second dose and as quickly as we possibly can.”

Henry said the 17 people who died from COVID-19 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday were all aged over 50 — with the majority aged 80 to 89.

However, she said the B.C. Coroners Service told her that an infant who died suddenly at B.C. Children’s Hospital in January had died from COVID-19. This makes two people aged under five who have died of the disease in the province.

“I’m reporting this today as the report from the coroner will be included in our weekly surveillance report this week. The family has been notified, and Interior Health is working with them. The privacy, of course, of the family is paramount, and we won’t be adding any additional information but just recognizing the tragedy of a young life lost.”

There are 8,199 active cases of the disease in B.C., of which 484 are being treated in hospital including 158 in intensive care. There are 12,340 people in self-isolation after being exposed to someone who had contracted COVID-19.

Henry said there are eight active COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities and seven in hospitals.

Fraser Health continues to be the epicentre of the disease in B.C., recording more than three times as many cases as the Vancouver Coastal Health region over the past three days.


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“We are going through the third wave and it’s definitely worse than the second wave,” said Dr. Gregory Haljan, head of critical care at Surrey Memorial Hospital. “We are full everyday. We’ve increased our capacity substantially and we are operating at the edge of the capacity and we are all tired. Our nurses and our respiratory therapists and other health-care workers have been working non-stop, as have our physicians.

“My only days at home with my family in April was this past weekend.”

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