Teachers, police will be among first 300k British Columbians to get vaccines outside age group

Province expects 340,000 AstraZeneca doses by end of May

Teachers, police officers and a host of other frontline workers will be among the first 320,000 British Columbians to receive vaccinations against COVID-19 outside of those in their age group.

Premier John Horgan confirmed Thursday the province now expects to receive 340,000 doses of the AstraZeneca plc vaccine from the Serum Institute of India by the end of May.

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While the B.C. immunization plan calls for vaccinations based on descending age groups, provincial officials had previously promised to use the AstraZeneca vaccine for frontline workers.

Horgan highlighted professions such as teachers, police, grocery workers and those working at food processing plants when making the announcement.

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, meanwhile, said 16,000 workers identified at 53 food-processing facilities, six industrial sites and five congregate housing sites were being prioritized in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

She said thousands of temporary foreign workers — those typically living in communal housing on agricultural sites — will also be prioritized as they undergo isolation in Richmond hotels upon arriving in Canada.

“This allows us to really move ahead with this large shipment of vaccine to target these groups of people who we know are essential for keeping our community going, and who have been working throughout this pandemic,” Henry said during a media briefing.

In the Fraser Health region, 22,500 doses will go towards immunizing people at 71 food-processing plants, 48 farms or greenhouses, and additional industrial sites facing outbreaks.

Doses totalling 15,000 will be immunizing workers at five industrial camps in the Northern Health region, while 6,500 doses will be administered to people working at three industrial workcamps, 34 food processing facilities and six farms or nurseries.

Only 1,000 doses are being allocated for Island Health, specifically for those working at four large food-production facilities.

More to come…

torton@biv.com

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