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COVID-19: B.C. a ‘long way’ from Herd Immunity, Dr. Henry says | Vancouver Sun

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COVID-19: B.C. a ‘long way’ from Herd Immunity, Dr. Henry says | Vancouver Sun | Jan 7 2021

Reporter 0:00
With vaccinations is now underway, I was hoping you could speak to how Community our Herd Immunity works. Have you determined a certain threshold or percentage of British Columbians to determine what this kind of immunity would look like, and what other factors exist when it comes to national and international vaccination levels, and particularly how it pertains to phase four in BC’s Restart Plans?

Dr. Bonnie Henry 0:27
Sure. So I think, to start with the last question of BC’s Restart Plan was for last year, we’re now into a completely different phase of the pandemic. So we are looking at the end of the pandemic, and what will that mean.

Dr. Bonnie Henry 0:43
But part of that, of course hinges on what I prefer to call Community Immunity or Herd Immunity. So with this virus, we have the level of of infectiousness of this virus and we use the reproductive number as an estimate of that an average estimate of that is the the modeling tells us that somewhere around 60 to 75% of the population needs to be immunized, so that the virus can’t find somebody who’s susceptible once somebody becomes ill, and that’s a way of protecting those around those who can’t be immunized, for example. So we are a long way from that.

Dr. Bonnie Henry 1:23
And that’s either people are immune because they’ve been immunized, or because they have had natural infection. And we’re a long way from that anywhere in the world. But and we are not in a place where we’re even striving for that yet because of the limited amount of vaccine that we have in this first month, the first few months of quarter one of 2021 the amount of vaccine that we are expecting, and we still don’t have a guarantee yet of that.

Dr. Bonnie Henry 1:52
But in Canada and BC, we have a limited amount of the Pfizer in the Moderna vaccines that will be coming in the coming months. And that’s why we have focused, it’s not enough to achieve Herd Immunity, it’s about little under 10% of our population. So our focus in this phase in quarter one is using those vaccines to protect those people who are most at risk of getting ill and dying from COVID-19.

Dr. Bonnie Henry 2:18
And making sure that we’re protecting our health care system so that it doesn’t get overwhelmed, and were able to provide health services for everybody else. So that’s the primary focus for these weeks. That’s why we’re focusing on long term care, because we know that’s where this virus is most devastating. So we started with people who work in long term care, because we weren’t at first able to move the limited amounts of Pfizer vaccine we received.

Dr. Bonnie Henry 2:45
But now we are moving out the Pfizer vaccine after the company has given very specific directions of how to do that, to make sure that this product remains stable and and works. So we have been in this past week, very actively going out to all long term care homes in the in the province.

Dr. Bonnie Henry 3:07
We’re not at 100% yet, but we’re getting there. And that is our absolute focus for the next few weeks, as well as key health care workers who work in COVID, wards, ICU emergency departments, paramedics who take people back and forth from long term care, people who go into long term care to help manage outbreaks.

Dr. Bonnie Henry 3:26
So that’s been our focus. And as you know, of course, some of our most at risk remote and rural communities as we get more vaccine, and right now, on the horizon are a couple of vaccines. There’s the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Johnson, Johnson & Johnson vaccine. But they are not yet approved for use.

Dr. Bonnie Henry 3:49
And we do not yet have any indication that we would get them before March. So that contracts from what we are told from the Federal Government the contracts for both of those products are for quarter two of 2021.

Dr. Bonnie Henry 4:06
So that’s April and beyond. Once we get those vaccines online, they are ones that were much more they’re they’re much more usable in terms of they are fridge stable, and so that’s our usual immunization programs.

Dr. Bonnie Henry 4:20
So we can start aiming towards that Community Immunity once we start having enough vaccine and enough types of vaccines that we can get it out to pharmacists and physicians offices and workplaces and others and so those are the things that we are working on and that we will be coming up with and providing you with details on in the coming weeks.

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