B.C. has announced a new leader for the province’s rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations.
In a news conference early Wednesday afternoon (Jan. 13), Health Minister Adrian Dix announced Vancouver Coastal Health chair Dr. Penny Ballem will take executive lead of the vaccination efforts.
“She’s been working with this team with extraordinary diligence for the past 12 months,” Dix said.
Dr. Ross Brown, who has been heading the program since November, will stay on under Ballem’s direction.
“I feel very happy and honoured to have this opportunity,” Ballem said. “It’s a mammoth task, but it can be done.”
This marks the largest vaccination effort in the province’s history, Dix said.
As of Tuesday, 62,294 British Columbians had received the first of two doses of COVID-19 vaccines. More doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected Wednesday or Thursday with more doses of the Moderna vaccine expected Friday.
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Federal officials are aiming to have a majority of Canadians be inoculated by the fall.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said she was pleased to welcome Ballem to the team as health officials across B.C. work to scale up vaccine rollouts as more doses arrive. Henry added officials will have further details on upscaling vaccine efforts in the next few days.
As of Tuesday, there were a recorded 1,019 COVID-related deaths in B.C. The province has recorded a total of 58,553 cases.
More to come.