Vaccine Update

How to book your vaccine and prepare for your appointment

On April 6, the provincial government introduced a new system for vaccine appointment registration and booking. Now everyone in B.C. has the option to register online or by phone. Learn what you need to have ready to register for your vaccination appointment and how to prepare for getting your vaccine.  The information is provided in 12 languages.

Click here to register or get more information.

 

COVID-19 Vaccines – What Older Canadians Need to Know

The National Institute on Ageing (NIA) released a guidance document titled COVID-19 Vaccines: What Older Canadians Need to Know, authored by Dr. Samir Sinha, Ms. Sabina Vohra-Miller, and Dr. Jennie Johnstone. The document outlines common questions arising among older Canadians regarding COVID-19 vaccines, along with evidence-informed answers to help keep Canadians up to date on the facts.

The guidance document, written in plain language, explains:

  • How vaccines work.
  • What mRNA is and how it is used to make vaccines.
  • The steps taken to create the COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine for older adults.
  • Vaccine side effects.
  • Whether or not older adults who have already have COVID-19 need to be vaccinated.

Click here to read the document. 

 

How are we doing?

B.C. completed phase 2 of the COVID-19 Immunization Plan, which focused on protecting the most vulnerable and immunizing:

  • Seniors 80+ who are not yet immunized.
  • Indigenous peoples 65+, Elders and additional communities not yet immunized.
  • People who live and work in independent living (hospital staff, community general practitioners (GPs) medical specialists not immunized in Phase 1.
  • Vulnerable populations living and working in select congregated settings.
  • Staff in community home support and nursing services.

 

Priority frontline workers added 

Several frontline workers have been, and continue to be, immunized to assist with outbreak responses, particularly in long-term care and assisted living.

In March, new groups were identified as priority frontline workers and will get their first dose of the vaccine in April.  These people work in places and sectors where one or more of the following apply:

  • The use of personal protective equipment and barriers can be challenging.
  • Outbreaks and clusters have occurred or are ongoing.
  • Workers must live or work in congregate settings.
  • Maintaining the workforce for a critical service is necessary.

These frontline workers include:

  • First responders (police, firefighters, emergency transport)
  • All staff in elementary and secondary schools
  • Childcare staff
  • Grocery store workers
  • Postal workers
  • Bylaw and quarantine officers
  • Manufacturing workers
  • Wholesale/warehousing employees
  • Staff living in congregate housing at places such as ski hills
  • Correctional facility staff
  • Cross-border transport staff

Vaccine appointments for frontline workers will be coordinated by their employer, and most people in these groups can expect to receive their first dose in April.  The timing of the vaccination will vary between different regions, industries, and services.

Phase 3 B.C. COVID-19 Immunization Plan is underway

Phase three of the B.C. COVID-19 Immunization Plan  is underway and focuses on immunizing:

  • People aged 79-60 in five-year increments
  • Indigenous peoples aged 64-18
  • People aged 69-16 who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV)

According to the Immunization Plan, all seniors age 65 and older will be eligible to receive their first dose of the vaccine before the end of April.

Clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV)

Expert physicians and providers in cancer care, kidney diseases and other immunocompromised conditions worked with public health and international COVID-19 data to define B.C.’s clinically extremely vulnerable list. Pediatricians were included to review relevant information for youth aged 16 to 19. The work was supported by an ethics expert to make sure the list is as fair and equitable as possible.

People with the following conditions may be considered CEV and will receive a letter, which should arrive by April 15, inviting them to book a vaccination appointment:

  • Transplant
  • Cancer
  • Severe respiratory conditions
  • Rare blood diseases
  • Other rare diseases
  • Splenectomy
  • Diabetes on insulin
  • Significant developmental disabilities that increase risk
  • Kidney/renal disease
  • Pregnant with heart disease
  • Neuromuscular/neurologic or muscular conditions that require respiratory support
  • People whose immune system is affected by immunosuppression therapies they take

Click here to learn more CEV people and their vaccination information.

 

Vaccinations for people younger than 65

Daily vaccination averages have fluctuated because of variations in vaccine supplies. Still, the province anticipates everyone in B.C. who is eligible to receive a vaccine may be offered a first dose of vaccine by the end of June.

The federal government has repeatedly said that any Canadian who wishes to be vaccinated for COVID-19 will be able to get both doses by September 2021.

 

Vaccinations for people 55-65 living on the Lower Mainland. New locations to be added.

People age 55-65 living on the Lower Mainland can receive an AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine by booking with one of over 150 participating pharmacies. The availability of AstraZeneca vaccines, through pharmacies, will likely be expanded in the week of April 6th to Vancouver Island and possible other locations.

Click here for a list of participating pharmacies.

 

Recent News Releases related to the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine

March 31, 2021:  Immunize BC, pharmacists move up vaccines for ages 55-65 on Lower Mainland

March 15, 2021:  Joint statement on first deployment of AstraZeneca vaccine in B.C.

 

How is B.C. doing compared to the rest of Canada?

Canada’s provinces and territories are in different stages of their vaccination rollout.

Click here to see how many vaccines have been given in each province and territory.