B.C. public health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix urged all British Columbians to register to be vaccinated against COVID-19, as the province expects more than a million doses of Pfizer vaccine to arrive in May.
Currently all adults can register, by going online to getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca or by phoning 1-833-838-2323 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily. Vaccination appointments are being booked for those 54 years old and older, and all Indigenous adults.
"Everybody will have access to a vaccine before Canada Day, and I think substantially before that," Henry said. "This is going to be a key month. Our clinics are ready and able to scale up."
Registering helps the province coordinate the supply of vaccine, ensuring they have the doses where they are needed, she said.
With the supply of vaccine expected, the province may even consider re-shortening the interval between the first and second dose, she added.
Roughly 2.1 million people have been registered through the province's online booking system, Dix said, but that means millions still have not. Roughly 900,000 appointments have been booked through the system.
"We're in a new phase of our immunization campaign. We need people in their 40s, in their 30s, in their 20s to register," he said. "Everyone needs to register now. We really need it done."
As of Monday, nearly 1.88 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered by the province. Data for the Northern Health region wasn't available from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control as of Monday afternoon.
Henry reported 60 new cases of COVID-19 in the Northern Health region over the weekend. The number of active cases and hospitalizations in the north weren't provided.
Across the province there were 2,174 new cases reported, and the number of active cases dropped from 7,886 to 7,327.
Henry reported 15 COVID-related deaths over the weekend, bringing the province's death toll from the pandemic to 1,596. All of the deaths were among people in their 70s, except for one person in their 50s, Henry said.
The number of people hospitalized in B.C. dropped from 511 on Friday to 474 on Monday, with 176 of those people in critical care.
While the vaccine campaign is ramping up, Henry urged all British Columbians to follow public health orders to contain the spread of the disease.
"Let's continue to do our part to not allow COVID-19 an opportunity to increase," she said. "We are getting closer to a time when this virus will no longer control our lives."