Last week it was announced that the delivery of the Pfizer vaccine to Canada would be dramatically slowed over the coming weeks.
The reduction of vaccines coming into Canada and British Columbia have forced public health officials to change their plans for immunization.
“With notice of a temporary reduction in Pfizer vaccine supply in Canada, we have adjusted our immunization program to match availability. Our focus continues to be on immunizing all those in long-term care, as well as the people who care for the residents, and starting dose two at 35 days,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry.
“We have been able to rearrange the process we have to make sure we are able to continue to provide the first of two doses to those of highest risk, and that we are able to provide second doses at day 35 in accordance to our plans,” added Henry. “It’s a bit of a setback, but it is only a delay.”
Henry continued to state that she has been assured the BC will receive the extra doses at the end of February and beginning of March.
“What that will mean is the focus will be on second doses starting next week and the week after. And then building back up again to be able to provide additional first doses to those at risk,” said Henry.
Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola MP Dan Albas has been vocal about the issues surrounding vaccine rollout in Canada and joined Q101 to discuss the latest developments.
“Right now, I’m very concerned as it seems the situation is worsening,” began Albas. “Aside from the critical shortage that we have had from Canada’s own procurement failures, the recently announced production delay from Pfizer only makes this worse.”
“We’re learning now that certain European Countries will not be near as delayed as Canada. At some point, we have to ask why is that? We’re spending the money in record amounts yet we’re not getting the results when it comes to vaccine procurement and I’d like to know why,” questioned Albas.
Albas mentioned how countries like Italy, Spain, and Turkey are all ahead of Canada in vaccine delivery.
“Let’s be mindful that when (the Conservatives) put forward a motion looking for clarity on vaccine procurement and schedule for rollout the Government was opposed to that. In fact, they said those things would cause the whole program to be at risk,” said Albas.
“Now the Prime Minister boasts about having huge amounts of vaccine on order, but I remind the Prime Minister that being on order is not cutting it. We need the vaccine to be delivered and for whatever reason Canada seems to be falling farther and farther behind and is not forthcoming on why other jurisdictions are outperforming us,” concluded Albas.
To date, 87,346 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine in British Columbia.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt
Merritt City Council will be holding a committee of the whole meeting Tuesday (Jan 19) afternoon focused on the new Official Community Plan.
City Staff along with the contracted team at WSP have been reviewing the current OCP.
“The current Official Community Plan was adopted by City Council in 2011. Nearing a decade in force, the City has shifted and grown under the direction of this plan. In reviewing and refreshing the Official Community Plan, the project team, in coordination with the City of Merritt, can identify the achievements of the past 9 years, while developing a vision for growth over the next 20. Through this exercise, key themes will be engaged upon and supportive direction provided to the community,” said WSP’s Bob Evans.
“The Official Community Plan is the overall City document which will help guide our community forward,” said Mayor Linda Brown. “During the 2018 election, I, and Council members, ran on a platform of Growth and Sustainability. This Plan will assist us to meet that goal for the community.”
This afternoon’s meeting will be focused on visioning for the new OCP and updating the current stated vision from 2004.
The meeting begins at 2 pm and due to COVID-19, the public will be required to watch the proceedings online.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt
The City of Merritt is set to apply to join the Canadian Municipal Network on Crime Prevention.
The group is a network of communities across Canada who describe themselves as seeking to share best practices to build capacity and prevent and reduce crime and foster community safety and well-being.
The Network includes both larger cities such as Vancouver, Surrey, Montreal, and Quebec, and also smaller communities like Williams Lake, in total representing around 40% of the Canadian population.
The request to join the network came from the Community Policing Office.
Joining the network would cost the City $650 in membership fees.
City Council voted 7-0 in favour of applying to join the network.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:
"Today, we are reporting on three periods. From Jan. 15 to 16, we had 584 new cases. From Jan. 16 to 17, we had 445 new cases and in the last 24-hours, we had a further 301 new cases.
"This results in a total of 1,330 new cases, including four epi-linked cases, for a total of 61,447 cases in British Columbia.
"There are 4,326 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 343 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 68 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.
"Currently, 6,865 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and a further 54,656 people who tested positive have recovered.
"Since we last reported, we have had 281 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 548 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 65 in the Island Health region, 257 in the Interior Health region, 166 in the Northern Health region and 13 new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.
"To date, 87,346 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine in British Columbia. With notice of a temporary reduction in Pfizer vaccine supply in Canada, we have adjusted our immunization program to match availability. Our focus continues to be on immunizing all those in long-term care, as well as the people who care for the residents, and starting dose two at 35 days.
Dr. Bonnie Henry has provided the latest COVID-19 figures in BC.
(Previous numbers in brackets)
New Cases – 1,330 *Day 1-584 , Day 2-445 , Day 3-301
Total Cases – 61,447 (60,117)
Active Cases – 4,326 (4,604)
Patients in Hospital – 343 (349)
Patients in ICU – 68 (68)
New Deaths – 31
Totals Deaths – 1,078 (1,047)
Vaccines Administrated – 87,346 (75,914)
Health region breakdown of new cases
Vancouver Coastal – +281
Fraser – +548
Island – +65
Interior – +257
Northern – +166
Outside Canada – +13
More to come.
There have been three confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Merritt Secondary School (MSS).
SD58 Nicola-Similkameen Superintendent Steve McNiven joined Q101 News Monday Morning to provide clarity into the situation at MSS and state that three positive cases have been confirmed by the Interior Health Authority.
“Since winter break, Interior Health has confirmed three positive cases amongst members of Merritt Secondary School,” said McNiven. “Our first letter went out January 6, the most recent date on those community letters is January 12. So, sometime between those dates, we’ve had three of those positive cases confirmed by Interior Health.”
Confusion over the total of cases was spurred by additional letters being sent to parents by Interior Health (IH).
While some students have been forced to self-isolate by order of IH, many others have been absent by choice.
“We went into the end of last week with low attendance and hoping to rebuild that this week by having students return to us in greater numbers. We’re really going to support that process,” said McNiven. “I’d ask parents to call the school. I think there is misinformation out there and we want parents to be given the accurate information so they can make a decision for themselves and their students.”
McNiven also outlined the current procedures in place at schools in the district to help prevent the future spread of COVID-19.
“With these exposures certainly comes some extra cleaning on our part. Really want parents to know that deep cleaning is taking place on a regular basis. We have our fog-sprayers in the school on a daily basis at MSS. The same twice a day cleaning across our district,” said McNiven.
“Many of the protocols that we’re reinforcing are really the most basic ones, that includes hand washing, mask-wearing where appropriate, daily health checks, distancing. We also have some structures in place to help with our transitions, so we have multiple lunch breaks for example at Merritt Secondary,” added McNiven.
The three cases at MSS are the only confirmed cases with a school community in Merritt throughout the pandemic.
“We also want to support the health and safety of all our community members. So making sure we’re all doing our best out there to keep ourselves safe by following protocols outside the school and in the community,” said McNiven.
“We want to wish the best, we know through Interior Health three of our members are going through a positive situation and we want them to be as healthy as possible and our minds and thoughts go towards them and their families,” concluded McNiven.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt