British Columbia has reached a record-high number of new COVID-19 cases, now averaging over 1,000 a day for the first time. This surge of cases in British Columbia is matching trends in other parts of the country.
In British Columbia, it was announced Thursday that just under 900,000 people, mostly older adults and people with severe medical conditions, have received one dose of the COVID vaccine. This amounts to about 21 percent of those eligible. Nearly 88,000 have received a second dose.
Canada ranks amongst the lowest of the top 40 countries that are actively vaccinating residents.
That's because there is currently no domestic capability to produce any COVID-19 vaccine. Canada is entirely reliant on international manufacturing.
During a briefing, British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix underscored how countries with higher vaccination rates were also the ones capable of producing their own vaccines.
"The federal government is working extremely hard, given that circumstances, to bring doses to us. And I offer no blame for them," Dix said.
Dix says that British Columbia is capable of delivering vaccines at a rapid rate, but availability remains the issue.
For the general population, B.C. is currently registering those born in 1956 or earlier for vaccination, age eighteen and over for Indigenous people. Those 55 to 64 can get the AstraZeneca vaccine from a pharmacy.
According to British Columbia’s top public health official, Dr. Bonnie Henry, most of the new infections are happening in workplaces. She has now authorized labor inspectors to close down any business that has an outbreak.
The most recent surge has been with problematic variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. While statistically Canada and British Columbia have a high number, officials say it can be due to more detailed and higher quantity of genomic sequencing of the virus.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out an advisory saying that people should "avoid all travel to Canada."
"Because of the current situation in Canada, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Canada," the statement said.
You can read the CDC's message here.