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B.C. marks one year of COVID-19 vaccines

Provincial officials are marking one year since the first COVID-19 vaccines arrived and were administered in British Columbia.

On Dec. 14, 2020, the first doses of vaccines arrived in Vancouver, and the next day, long-term care aide Nisha Yunus became the first person in B.C. to get vaccinated.

According to the province, more than 4.2 million BCers have joined her in getting at least their first dose.

In fact, as of yesterday, 91.5 per cent of eligible people 12 and older have received their first dose, with 88.5 per cent receiving two.

“Since we began the largest immunization program in our province’s history, the vast majority of people have stepped up and done their part,” says Premier John Horgan.

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“By remaining vigilant, continuing to follow public health orders and getting vaccinated, we will get through this together.”

Meanwhile, more than 589,000 people have gotten a third or booster dose of vaccine.

“That’s what lets us get back to our lives. This very safe and very effective vaccine,” Dr. Charmaine Enns tells Vista Radio.

The Comox Valley, Strathcona and North Island medical health officer sums up COVID-19 vaccines in two words: game-changer.

“I don’t know how much more evidence we can have to give confidence to the population on how effective it is,” she says.

“The vaccine continues to prove itself over and over again.”

For Enns, there are two different perspectives to look at when it comes to vaccines – the first being yourself, what it means for you and your health and well-being; the second being what it means for those around you.

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“Those are two important things to consider,” she says. “So even if you feel that it doesn’t matter per se for ‘me,’ I would ask you to consider what it might mean for transmission to others in your family, in your household, in your social circle and your community.”

And while she says we’ll likely never see 100 per cent vaccination rates, according to Enns, the more people vaccinated, the better.

“I just looked at our hospitalization rates. For Vancouver Island, our hospitalizations continue to go down. So we are on a steady decline in hospitalizations due to COVID-19, and by far the majority of people who are hospitalized are unvaccinated.”

The latest data from the BC Centre for Disease Control points to unvaccinated BCers being 56 times more likely to end up in critical care due to COVID-19 than people who have received two vaccine doses.

Those who still need to get a first or second dose, or want to register their child, can find more information here.

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