In Canada, we currently have two approved COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna. As of January 4th, a total of 121,295 doses of the vaccine have been administered in Canada, with approximately 17,510 doses administered to British Columbians.
Both Pfizer and Moderna require two doses for the vaccine to work best; a single dose and then a second dose a month later. In BC, the current strategy is to maximize the number of people being immunized by prioritizing the vaccine for first doses and delaying the distribution of the second dose until February.
With the vaccines being so new, understandably there have been some concerns about the potential side effects. According to the Government of Canada, the side effects are similar to what you might have with other vaccines. It's common to have mild, harmless effects that last a few hours or a couple days. This may include mild fever, redness, soreness, and or swelling at the injection site. In some rare cases a person may experience high fever, redness, swelling, and potentially anaphylaxis.
Right now, we know that the Pfizer vaccine is not recommended for those who have serious anaphylactic reactions that require an epipen. The vaccine is also not approved for children, pregnant people, and the immunocompromised until more evidence is gathered on the potential risks. If you have received the vaccine, is it still recommended that you wear a mask and continue to follow social distancing. You may not get sick from the virus, but there is still a chance that you can pass it on to others.
In terms of a vaccine timeline in BC, the first groups to get vaccinated between December and February will be:
Following this, from February to March vaccinations will extend priority to:
What we know is that once the priority groups have been immunized, all others can get vaccinated as the vaccine supply becomes more readily available. According to the Government of BC, everyone will have the opportunity to be vaccinated by the end of 2021, and it will be free for everyone who wants it.
While we wait for April, when the vaccine will be rolled out to the general public, it is still very important that we continue to observe health guidelines to prevent a possible third wave from breaking out. Continue to wash your hands, stay home if you feel unwell, and follow social distancing.
GOeBlogger is a health enthusiast and avid reader living and thriving in vibrant Vancouver. When she's not nerding out at her laptop, you can find her exploring the beautiful BC coastline with her dog.
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