The first COVID-19 vaccination was administered Tuesday in British Columbia as those working in long-term care facilities and intensive care units become the first people to take part in the province’s immunization program.
Health Minister Adrian Dix confirmed the immunization with a picture on his Twitter account, saying it represented “a hopeful day for all of us” in B.C.
“Among the very first people to receive it are those who care for and support B.C.’s seniors; by getting immunized, they are helping to protect those most vulnerable to #COVID19 and helping us all get one step closer to ending this pandemic.”
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said last week that an initial shipment of 4,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be available at two clinics in the regions covered by the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser health authorities, before immunization is eventually expanded to 30 sites.
Dr. Henry has declined to reveal the locations of the clinics.
Last week, she said the government had credible information from national and international sources that there are people targeting vaccines.
Other provinces have publicized the arrival of vaccines, including in Ontario where a care home worker in Toronto was immunized on live television.
The Canadian Press was invited to photograph the first vaccination in B.C., but declined because of conditions in a nondisclosure agreement covering the event.
In a statement, the Health Ministry said the level of secrecy surrounding the vaccinations is necessary.
“B.C. is taking every precaution to ensure that our vaccine supply is not tampered with or compromised and keeping the vaccination locations confidential is part of that,” it said.
Dr. Henry has noted that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must also be kept at ultra-low temperatures and that limits access.
“So, we are going to be a little bit circumspect early on and make sure that we’re able to best protect the precious vaccine that we have and be able to safely administer it to people.”