But approval of another vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson, gives hope for even-faster ramp up of immunizations

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B.C. reported 634 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the highest one-day total in almost two months.

The last time B.C.’s numbers were this high was on Jan. 7, when 761 new cases were reported.

There are now 4,901 active cases of the virus in the province, including 255 people in hospital. Four more people have died, bringing the B.C. death toll to 1,380.

There has also been a new outbreak at Holberg House Hospice in Abbotsford.

Amid the troubling rise in daily cases was a glimmer of hope on the vaccine front, as Health Canada approved the use of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.

“The newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine is another tool in our immunization program that will help accelerate protection of people throughout our province,” said the provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and Health Minister Adrian Dix in a joint statement.

The province is set to launch its age-based community vaccination program later this month. Starting Monday, the government will start to book vaccine appointments for people over 90 and Indigenous people over 65.


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To date, 311,208 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., including 86,865 second doses.

Meanwhile, work is underway to determine which of the province’s front-line and essential workers will be first in line for the Oxford-AstraZeneca shots. The B.C. immunization committee is expected to release its plan by March 18.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation, the B.C. Dental Association and Unifor Local 111, which represents Metro Vancouver bus drivers, have said their members should get the shots first.



— with files from Canadian Press

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