Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about COVID-19 vaccination program at the B.C. legislature, March 8, 2020. (B.C. government)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about COVID-19 vaccination program at the B.C. legislature, March 8, 2020. (B.C. government)

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine begins arriving in B.C.

Another 531 cases, 51 variants, confirmed in B.C. Wednesday

Supplies of a third vaccine for COVID-19 have begun arriving in B.C., a fridge-stable option that will be used mainly for community outbreak response and high-risk industries in B.C.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is being used in addition to the larger age-based vaccination program that is currently booking appointments for people aged 90 and up living at home, and Indigenous people aged 65 and up. Health Minister Adrian Dix told the B.C. legislature March 10 that issues with appointment call centre staffing are being worked out and wait times for people to call their health authority phone lines are reduced from the surge of Monday morning when the system went into operation.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported an additional 531 cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, similar to recent daily totals, and one additional death.

The new cases include 51 of virus variants being tracked, after 182 new variant cases were confirmed Tuesday. Of the total of 627 variant infections found so far in B.C., 109 remain active and the remaining people have recovered.

As of Wednesday, 355,340 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across the province, a number expected to rise quickly as community vaccination clinics for elderly people open in many communities on March 15. Details for registering people by age can be found at gov.bc.ca/BCseniorsfirst.

There have been no new health care outbreaks reported in the past 24 hours.

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