B.C. reports 600 new cases, one death, as vaccine booking age continues to drop

The province is currently booking appointments for those age 36 and older, but will open bookings to age 30 and older Wednesday evening

B.C. health officials are reporting 600 new cases of COVID-19 and one further death over the past 24 hours.

Of the new cases, 39 are in the Interior Health region.

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Elsewhere, there have been 150 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 394 in Fraser Health, eight in Island Health and nine in Northern Health.

The number of active cases in B.C. continues to fall, down to 5,887 on Wednesday. Hospitalization numbers are also coming down, but much more slowly, with 423 in hospital on Wednesday. Of those patients, 141 are receiving critical care in ICUs.

To date, B.C. has seen 137,223 cases of COVID-19, with 129,524 of those recovered and 1,625 dead.

B.C.'s vaccination rollout continues, booking those age 36 and older as of Wednesday. To date, 2,277,318 doses have been given, including 115,295 second doses.

Beginning tomorrow, the province will be booking for those age 30 and older.

To receive an invitation to book an appointment, register online at getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca or call 1-833-838-2323.

The province says those who received their first dose but did not register should do so in order to receive an invitation to book a second dose.

AstraZeneca being reserved for second doses only

The province also announced on Wednesday that it would hold its remaining supply of AstraZeneca doses for second doses only.

"Given the limited availability of the AstraZeneca vaccine supply, we are holding all remaining AstraZeneca vaccine for dose-two booster immunizations. Existing pharmacy bookings will proceed, but no additional appointments will be accepted at this time," reads a statement released by Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

B.C.'s decision comes after deaths due to Vaccine-Induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT) in Alberta and New Brunswick, a National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) statement that mRNA (Pfizer and Moderna) vaccines are preferred in some cases, and Ontario's decision to pause all first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

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