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

Just Posted

Singing and drumming was heard in downtown Vanderhoof on Monday, June 14. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Photos: Honour Walk held in Vanderhoof

An honour walk was held Monday June 14 in Vanderhoof, remembering the… Continue reading

Emergency crews responded to the scene of a suspicious fire at the southeast corner of the OK Café in Vanderhoof Friday, June 11. The historic building is 101-years-old. (BC RCMP photo)
OK Café in Vanderhoof alright after suspicious fire

Damage kept to a minimum by firefighters

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. Northern Health confirmed it has the lowest vaccination rates amongst the province’s five regional health authorities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Vaccination rates in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St James well below provincial average

COVID-19 immunization clinics for youth 12+ coming up in Fort St. James

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Most Read