Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about phase two in B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization plan as Premier John Horgan and Minister Arian Dix look on during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about phase two in B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization plan as Premier John Horgan and Minister Arian Dix look on during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C. reports 438 new COVID cases, 2 deaths; Dr. Henry defends vaccine plan

Long-term care outbreaks are decreasing

B.C. is reporting 438 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths as of Tuesday (March 2), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

By health authority, it breaks down to 137 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 249 in Fraser Health, 19 in Island Health, 16 in Interior Health and 17 in Northern Health. There are now a total of 4,679 active cases and 8,445 people in isolation.

There are 243 people in hospital, of whom 62 are in ICU with the virus. There have been a total of 81,367 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began, of which 72,255 have recovered. B.C.’s death toll from the virus has reached 1,365.

Henry on Tuesday defended delaying the second dose of COVID vaccines for up to four months. Health officials announced Monday that choosing to delay the booster shot would allow all B.C. adults to receive their first dose by mid-July.

“If you give it too soon, your body’s immune system doesn’t recognize it as something news,” she said. “If you extend it a period of time as long as six months… you can get a more durable and long-lasting protection.”

Henry said that last week’s approval of AstraZeneca allows B.C. to be “more agile” in targeting areas of outbreaks and transmission. However, she noted that people will by and large not have a choice in which vaccine they get, but that the AstraZeneca could be offered to some front line and essential workers earlier than they may get the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“The vaccine you are offered is the best vaccine,” she said. “I would not suggest people wait.”

However, upcoming mass vaccinations of seniors are expected to continue using the Pfizer and Moderna.

B.C. also extended its state of emergency for the COVID pandemic to March 16, marking nearly one full year.

READ MORE: Most B.C. adults could get their first COVID vaccine shot by July: health officials


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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