Jubilee Lodge care aide Biserka Becker was the first person in the Northern Health region to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Becker was one of a group of high-risk health care workers at Jubilee Lodge and the University Hospital of Northern B.C. who received the vaccine on Tuesday.
Dr. Marietije Slabbert, the lead physician at UHNBC's intensive care unit, was also among those vaccinated on Tuesday.
“This has been a really long journey for people working in health care, and the community at large, and it’s wonderful that this vaccine has finally arrived in the North; it’s like the best Christmas present ever,” Slabbert said in a press release. “The teams of physicians, nurses, care aides, cleaners – everybody has been working so hard, and we’ll continue working hard to get this vaccine to every person in the North who wants to be vaccinated.”
Northern Health received its first shipment of 1,950 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 on Monday. High-risk health care workers and long-term care and assisted-living residents will be the first in line to receive the vaccine, which requires two doses, administered three weeks apart, to be fully effective.
In addition to Becker and Slabbert, emergency physician Dr. Brian Hillhouse, UHNBC internal medical department head Dr. Firas Mansour, chief physiotherapist Ido Koledoye, chief lad technologist Chris Taurc, respiratory therapist Tracey Green and Jubilee Lodge housekeeper Lee Anne Peever were among the first to receive the vaccine.
The University Hospital of Northern B.C. in Prince George is currently the only vaccine distribution site in the Northern Health region – one of nine in B.C.
"As more vaccines are approved by Health Canada, more communities and more groups of people will receive the COVID-19 vaccine," a statement issued by Northern Health said. "We expect to be able to immunize all Northern BC residents who wish to have the vaccine by the end of 2021."
Northern Health anticipates the vaccine created by Moderna to be available in 2021, as Health Canada is expected to approve it for use shortly.
All COVID-19 vaccines will be free to everyone in British Columbia.
More information about the vaccines is available online here: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/vaccines.