Alex Campbell First Nations Elder and Knowledge Holder from Lax Kw’alaams is the first senior citizen to receive a COVID-19 vaccination at the community clinic in Prince Rupert on March 14. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Alex Campbell First Nations Elder and Knowledge Holder from Lax Kw’alaams is the first senior citizen to receive a COVID-19 vaccination at the community clinic in Prince Rupert on March 14. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

COVID vaccine ‘not 100%,’ Dr. Henry warns communities getting first dose all at once

People in communities like Prince Rupert are being vaccinated all at the same time

The provincial health officer urged caution on Monday (March 15) even as some communities in B.C. edge towards being fully vaccinated.

Communities like Prince Rupert, other small towns and many First Nations are seeing their entire populations get the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine all at once, instead of by age like the rest of the province.

“There are many communities now around the province, First Nations communities, smaller communities where it doesn’t make sense to go back multiple times,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said, but added a note of caution.

“We all need to recognize that right now we still have a lot of transmission of this virus and the vaccine is not 100 per cent, so we need to be respectful of each other.”

READ MORE: First mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic kicks off in Prince Rupert

Henry stopped short of giving exact instructions to people living in fully vaccinated communities but she did say that “three to four weeks after [the shot] our immune system is able to build up that response, so we are protected in a broader sense.”

In the U.S., the Centre for Disease Control issued guidance that allowed those who had gotten two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to meet up, unmasked, in small groups. However, Americans are still being urged to adhere to all COVID precautions when out in public.

In B.C., most people will get their second dose after a longer interval than the 21 to 28 days that vaccine manufacturers have recommended.

However, Henry noted that people from vaccinated communities travel and move around and come into contact with people who have not gotten their COVID jab.

“We take risk from where we come and we bring that risk back from where we’ve been. We’re not safe until we’re all safe.”

So far in B.C., 409,103 vaccine doses have been administered, mostly first doses. According to provincial data, there are approximately 4.2 million adults in B.C.

READ MORE: What to expect when you are expecting your COVID shot


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