Dr. Bonnie Henry and long-term care workers were the first Islanders to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 22. (Courtesy of Island Health)

Dr. Bonnie Henry and long-term care workers were the first Islanders to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 22. (Courtesy of Island Health)

Dr. Bonnie Henry, long-term care staff get first doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Island Health

Dr. Bonnie Henry, long-term care staff received the vaccine Tuesday

Dr. Bonnie Henry and long-term care workers were the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Vancouver Island Tuesday morning.

By noon, chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick said, more than 60 people in Greater Victoria alone had received their first dose.

“The approach right now is to create a ring of safety around the residents of long-term care facilities,” he said.

Island Health received its first shipment – 1,950 vials – of the Pfizer vaccine to its facility on Dec. 21. Because it has to be stored at -70 C, the vaccine can only be administered from its storage facility.

Stanwick said they hope to receive permissions to transfer the vaccines again, so they could actually store some in long-term care facilities and more easily distribute it.

“We’re just having to adapt as we go,” he said.

Dena Scriven, a nursing assistant in long-term care, was the first health care worker in Island Health to get vaccinated.

“I felt a little bit nervous walking into that room with everybody, but it is a vaccine I have read a lot about,” she said. “I had no worries. I’m confident it is safe.”

The vaccine is being distributed based on proximity and vulnerability to COVID-19.

Long-term care workers will receive it first, followed by residents and other health care workers.

Changing circumstances may also alter how the limited supply is distributed, Stanwick explained, noting incidents like the Saanich Peninsula Hospital outbreak.

The Island should receive its next round of doses by January, he said, although the number has not yet been determined.

If Health Canada approves the Moderna vaccine, it is possible the Island will receive even more. The benefit of Moderna, Stanwick noted, is that it doesn’t have to be stored at sub-freezing temperatures and can more easily be transported to people in need.

While the arrival of the vaccine is exciting, Stanwick said, he emphasized that people still need to follow provincial health orders. If people choose to ignore them and gather for Christmas, he noted, the Island will see a significant uptick in cases in January.


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

CoronavirusGreater VictoriaIsland Healthvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chief says community “devastated” by third police shooting

Woman shot by Ucluelet RCMP in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu on May 8.

Tofino is adding to its planning department to keep up with rising interest in residential development in town. (Westerly file photo)
Interest in residential development rising in Tofino

District of Tofino boosting planning department.

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
NTC president calls for ‘massive change’ after Indigenous woman shot by police in Hitacu

“We need to get to the root of what is actually happening with the RCMP and our communities”

Hotel Zed Tofino has won a Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Award. (Westerly file photo)
Hotel Zed Tofino wins commercial building award

Vancouver Island Real Estate Board holds virtual gala.

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Two-year-old Kashius Weme rides at the Steve Smith Memorial Bike Park in Nanaimo on Tuesday, May 11. The youngster’s precocious bike-riding ability is already attracting cycle sponsors. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
2-year-old bike rider on Vancouver Island already attracting cycle sponsors

Nanaimo’s Kashius Weme has a knack for extreme cycle sports

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

A scene from the Schoolhouse Squat from October 2018, where Alliance Against Displacement members and supporters occupied the Rutherford Elementary School site, advocating for people experiencing homelessness. (News Bulletin file)
‘Schoolhouse Squat’ activists get conditional discharge in Nanaimo school occupation

Ivan Donald Drury, Tingchun (Listen) Chen sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Most Read