Coronavirus: Interior Health prepares for Moderna vaccine rollout

The highly-anticipated Moderna vaccine is on its way into B.C., and Interior Heath expects to start rolling it out to its communities within the next four weeks.

According to health officials, 168,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine is on its way to B.C., expected to arrive today and tomorrow.

Interior health has confirmed B.C. will be receiving 792,000 doses of the new Moderna vaccine but said at this moment it is unclear how many Interior Health will receive.

That will be up to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control to decide, and will be determined by regional needs.

Read more: B.C. records 74 COVID-19 deaths over five days along with 2,206 new cases

Public health officials have said the new vaccine will make it much easier for long-term care homes and remote communities to access.

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Unlike some of the other coronavirus vaccines in use, the Moderna vaccine doesn’t need to be transported and stored in extremely cold temperature.

The fact that the Moderna vaccine can be transported at near-normal freezer temperatures will allow health authorities to bring the vaccine to those who need it the most.

Interior Health said it’s focused on rolling out the doses to high priority groups over the next month.

“Starting with residents, staff and essential visitors to long-term care and assisted-living facilities. Then, individuals in hospitals or communities that are awaiting a long term care placement. Next, will be health care workers providing care for COVID-19 patients in settings like intensive care units, emergency departments, medical/surgical units and paramedics. And, remote and isolated First Nations communities,” wrote Interior Health staff in an email.

Read more: Moderna vaccine approved: What we know about side effects, ingredients and doses

Dr. Bonnie Henry expects the vaccine to arrive today and said the primary recipients of the vaccine will be remote communities in BC.

“The Moderna vaccine will be used particularly in the north, the Interior and some parts of the island, to be able to provide immunization to smaller long-term care homes, in smaller communities,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said in her public address on Tuesday.

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“I think this is a very important and exciting move forward for us here in B.C.”

Moderna has said its vaccine is nearly 94.1 per cent effective in protecting people from the coronavirus.

Interior Health said it will be providing more information on the Moderna rollout plan as soon as it knows how many doses it will be receiving and when they will arrive.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Remote B.C. First Nations expect to receive vaccine, Dr. Bonnie update at 3 p.m.' 4:34 Coronavirus: Remote B.C. First Nations expect to receive vaccine, Dr. Bonnie update at 3 p.m.

Coronavirus: Remote B.C. First Nations expect to receive vaccine, Dr. Bonnie update at 3 p.m.

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