PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Biserka Becker, a care aide in Prince George, was the first person to be immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine in the Northern Health Region.

On top of Becker, Dr. Bonnie Henry also received the vaccine in Victoria on Tuesday.  

Northern Health received its first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Monday. Dr. Henry said on Monday that Pfizer says at this time, the vaccine shipments cannot be broken up and shipped to other areas in the Province. The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at -70°C and requires special equipment to keep it at that temperature.

Health Officials expect Pfizer will start to allow individual shipments to be broken up in the next few days. Once that restriction is lifted, Northern Health expects more vaccines will be available in other parts of Northern B.C.

Dr. Slabbert, the physician lead for the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at UHNBC, was also among the group to receive the vaccine. Dr. Slabbert is considered a high-risk health care work because of her work with COVID-19 patients in the ICU.

“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,” said Dr. Slabbert. 

As Health Canada approves more vaccines, more communities and more groups of people will receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Northern Health expects to immunize all Northern BC residents who wish to have the vaccine by the end of 2021.