Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry poses with Nisha Yunus, who has been a residential care aide with Vancouver Coastal Health for 41 years. Yunus was one of the first health-care workers in B.C. to receive a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. (BC Government photo)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry poses with Nisha Yunus, who has been a residential care aide with Vancouver Coastal Health for 41 years. Yunus was one of the first health-care workers in B.C. to receive a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. (BC Government photo)

‘Feels like a dream came true’: Health-care workers receive COVID vaccine in B.C.

Two frontline workers – one in Vancouver Coastal and the other in Fraser Health – make history

With two deep breaths, Nisha Yunis became part of history Tuesday as one of the first health-care workers in B.C. to be immunized with a COVID-19 vaccine.

The 64-year-old, who has been a residential care aide with Vancouver Coastal Health for 41 years, received the first of two doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Dec. 15 – met with a round of applause by a small group of socially-distant health officials.

“I am so grateful. It feels like a dream came true. It is both a privilege and an honour to receive the first COVID-19 vaccine in British Columbia,” Yunus said in a statement.

“I have seen first-hand what COVID-19 does to families, and I am hopeful we are getting closer to finally reaching the end of this pandemic, so people can reunite safely with their loved ones and put this behind us.”

Also immunized Tuesday was Linda Latour, a health-care assistant in Fraser Health. The pair of frontline workers are two of roughly 4,000 in B.C. who will soon be rolling up their sleeves to receive the first approved COVID-19 vaccine.

“This vaccine and the others that will be available in the weeks ahead will save lives, protect those who are most vulnerable and reduce the disruption that we have experienced in communities everywhere,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a statement.

“We are not yet through the storm, but brighter days are indeed on the horizon.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix said as vaccines become more available, they will be provided to other priority groups throughout the province.

ALSO READ: B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases dip to 522 Tuesday

Health-care workers within care homes and acute wards – particularly those helping treat COVID-19 patients – are at the top of the priority list for vaccines. Next in line are those living in long-term care homes and facilities, and other elderly people within B.C. communities and First Nation reserves.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that Canada had reached an agreement with Moderna to provide its vaccine, but has yet to be approved by Health Canada. In the coming days, 30,000 Canadians are set to receive the vaccine.

B.C.’s immunization plan is being led by Dr. Ross Brown, Vancouver Coastal Health’s vice-president. A registration and record system are in development, including a process to register for vaccine access and so people can receive a formal record of immunization.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Metro Creative)
Hope residents invited to join in Earth Day clean-up event

From dead batteries to flat tires, volunteers ready to sort and recycle

Fire crews battle a large wildfire north of Highway 1 at Yale Road West on Thursday, April 15, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
PHOTOS w/ VIDEO: Large 10-hectare wildfire ‘not quite contained’ day after it started in Chilliwack

Chilliwack Fire Department completing hot-spot controls, foot patrols of area on day two

Cheam meadows trail near Mt. Cheam by Chilliwack. (Submitted)
Cheam First Nation ‘shocked’ over all-season mountain resort proposal near Chilliwack

For five years the band has been working on a gondola project of their own

Chilliwack had 130 COVID cases in the latest report from the BC Centre for Disease Control, covering the period of April 4 to 10. (BCCDC graphic)
Chilliwack COVID case count rises sharply in latest report from BC Centre for Disease Control

Just about everything west of Chilliwack is struggling badly, and we’re not doing well either

Japanese Canadian citizens being transferred into waiting trucks outside Hope Station House. NNMCC L2021-2-1-004. Photographs courtesy of the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre
Fight continues for historic Hope Station House

Ombudsman report and stop work order come alongside district’s move to remove heritage status

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)
The plane blasted through an airport fence and down a hill, before stopping before a cement barrier on Highway 5A, right in front of a school bus. Photo submitted.
Student pilot crashes plane onto Highway 5A almost hitting school bus

Aircraft hit pavement right in front of school bus

Eight-year-old Piper and her family were raising money to help Guinevere, the bearded dragon, get a gynecological surgery. Sadly, the reptile didn’t survive the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Lizard fails to survive surgery, GoFundMe dollars help Langley family offset medical bills

Guinevere, a pet bearded dragon, underwent an ovariectomy on Tuesday

A driver stopped by Saanich police following a road rage incident on April 15 was found to be impaired, in violation of a license restriction and in a damaged vehicle. They received a 90-day driving prohibition and a 30-day vehicle impound. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Road rager fails breathalyzer on busy B.C. highway in vehicle he shouldn’t be driving

Saanich police say man was operating vehicle without required ignition lock

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier John Horgan booked to get AstraZeneca shot Friday

‘Let’s show all British Columbians that the best vaccine is the one that’s available to you now,’ he said

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pfizer to increase vaccine deliveries in Canada as Moderna supply slashed

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine plans during a news conference at the legislature in Victoria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
P.1 variant likely highest in B.C. due to more testing for it: Dr. Henry

Overall, just under 60% of new daily cases in the province involve variants

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

Most Read