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Doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will be available at pharmacies in Prince George by the end of the week, Health Minister Adrian Dix said on Tuesday

Prince George residents aged 55 to 65 will be eligible to receive the vaccine, Dix said The pharmacy vaccination campaign will run alongside the regular age-based campaign, administered at a Prince-based clinic George Conference and Civic Center

The province’s AstraZeneca vaccine dose utilization program was first launched at pharmacies in the Lower Mainland Dix said this week it will be extended to communities across the province, including Prince George , Terrace and Dawson Creek in the Northern Health Region

“We are really focusing on the communities that are having the biggest epidemic problems,” said Dr Bonnie Henry said “We don’t have enough vaccine to provide it to everyone (in the age 55 to 65) “

Across the province, there are about 700,000 people aged 55 to 65, she said, and the province expects to receive just 200,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the next few weeks.

The drugstore campaign is a way to ‘jumpstart’ vaccinations in this age group, until these people are eligible for the main age-based campaign, she said

The province’s supply of AstraZeneca was initially intended to be used to vaccinate frontline workers, but concerns about possible blood clots in people under 55 have prompted the province to shift gears to s ‘ensure the doses could be used before they expire, said Henry

“Our worker-focused parallel program remains on hiatus for now as we get more information on the AstraZeneca vaccine,” she said

The province plans to start receiving doses of the stable single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine in the refrigerator later this month, she said This vaccine could be used to jump-start the province’s vaccination campaign for frontline workers, Henry added.

A spokesperson for Northern Health could not provide further details on the plan’s implementation in Prince George and other parts of northern BC communities, but said those details will be announced when ‘they will be available

People aged 71 and over (and all Aboriginal adults) can register for the province’s leading age-based vaccination campaign using the province’s new online registration system which was launched on Tuesday As of 2 p.m., 160,464 people had registered using the online system since it went live on Tuesday morning, Ten said

Four COVID-related deaths were reported in the Northern Health Region over the weekend The deaths bring the death toll in the pandemic region to 128, according to data released by the BC Center for Disease Control Tuesday

43 additional new cases were reported in the north on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases in the region since the start of the pandemic to 6,294, the BC CDC reported

The number of active cases in the region rose to 340 on Tuesday, from 297 on Thursday – the last day the BC CDC reported data for the region

The number of people hospitalized in the region increased from four to 34 on Tuesday, including nine people in intensive care

A total of 912,056 doses of the three COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the province, meaning more than 19% of British Columbians have now been vaccinated, Ten said

Updated immunization numbers for the Northern Health Region were not available from the BC CDC as of Tuesday afternoon

207 more cases of COVID-19 variants of concern were identified in BC on Tuesday, Henry said Since the variants were first identified, there have been 3,766 confirmed cases of the UK, Southern Variants African and Brazilian women in the province – including 15 in the Northern Health region

“This is about three percent of our active cases currently,” said Henry “Viruses by their very nature mutate and change For us it was the B117 (UK) strain that took charge about a third of our (new) cases “

In Ontario, about 60% of new COVID-19 cases are highly infectious UK variant, and British Columbia is likely only a month behind that level, Henry said

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“The B117 is found all over BC,” she says, “Fewer outside the Lower Mainland, but all over the province”

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Source: https://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/news/local-news/covid-19-vaccine-coming-to-prince-george-pharmacies-1.24303934