Charlotte Rowse, 96, is one of the first to be vaccinated at the community COVID-19 immunization clinic in Prince Rupert March 14. Community vaccination clinics have opened in communities across B.C. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Charlotte Rowse, 96, is one of the first to be vaccinated at the community COVID-19 immunization clinic in Prince Rupert March 14. Community vaccination clinics have opened in communities across B.C. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

B.C. COVID-19 infections still spreading as vaccination underway

555 new cases Saturday, 491 Sunday, 460 up to Monday

As COVID-19 community vaccination clinics ramp up across the province for the most elderly people living independently, B.C. public health authorities continue to report a steady stream of new cases around 500 a day.

“The number of new cases is very high, much higher than I would like it to be,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday.

Health authorities reported another 555 confirmed cases up to Saturday, 491 to Sunday and 460 to Monday, with the majority continuing to be found in the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health regions. There were 10 additional deaths related to the novel coronavirus over the weekend, and one new health care outbreak at UBC Hospital in Vancouver. B.C. is down to six active outbreaks in senior care homes and eight acute-care areas in the hospital system.

Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced Monday the priority workplaces and work camps for B.C.’s first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine, to be deployed in parallel with the larger age-based vaccination program that is working with people aged 85 and up this week.

Henry reviewed the issues with certain batches of the AstraZeneca vaccine in other countries, as they studied a group of cases with blood clots in the lung or heart. She said these clots occur in the population at all times, and there have been 37 cases in people who received one of the 17 million shots of AstraZeneca so far world-wide.

“This is lower than we might see in the general population without vaccination,” Henry said, adding that Britain has had no issues with the vaccine it developed and used first. There have been no questions about the effectiveness in India, where the AstraZeneca vaccine used in Canada is being produced.

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