By Goat Staff with files from BC Gov
More than 400,000 people in British Columbia will be immunized from March to early April as the Province moves into Phase 2 of the largest immunization rollout in B.C.’s history.
With the additional supply from the newly approved AstraZeneca/Serum Institute of India viral vector vaccine, combined with setting the second dose interval at 16 weeks, more people will be vaccinated more quickly, Premier John Horgan said Monday.
“We’re getting vaccine into arms as fast as we can given early supply delays from manufacturers, and we’re seeing it start to make a difference for people and their communities throughout our province,” said Horgan.
Those in Phase 2 receiving their first vaccine dose in March and early April include seniors and high-risk people residing in independent living and seniors’ supportive housing (including staff); home-care support clients and staff; Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) peoples born in or before 1956 (65 years and older); and seniors born in or before 1941 (80 years and older).
On March 1, 2021, first-dose immunizations begin for those living and working in independent living centres and seniors’ supportive housing, as well as home-care support clients and staff. Health authorities will directly contact those in this priority group to book appointments – no need to call.
Beginning March 8, 2021, seniors aged 80+ and Indigenous peoples aged 65+ who are not living in independent living or seniors’ supportive housing can make one call to book their appointment through their local health authority call centre according to a staggered schedule. This is to avoid long waits and system overload. Immunization clinic locations will be confirmed at time of booking, with vaccinations starting as early as March 15, 2021:
* March 8, 2021: Seniors born in or before 1931 (90 years+) and Indigenous people born in or before 1956 (65 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment;
* March 15, 2021: Seniors born in or before 1936 (85 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment; and
* March 22, 2021: Seniors born in or before 1941 (80 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment.
Dr. Penny Ballem, executive lead for B.C.’s immunization plan said Phase 2 is right on schedule. “We are working closely with each of the regional health authorities to make sure that they have the tools and resources needed to safely and efficiently book appointments.”
Health authority contact information, complete call-in schedules, hours of operations and step-by-step instructions on how to call to book an appointment for yourself, for a family member, for a friend or neighbour will be available on March 8, 2021, here: www.gov.bc.ca/bcseniorsfirst
Dr. Bonnie Henry’s new provincial health officer order significantly expands the range of health professions and occupations who can support immunization clinics, including dentists, midwives, pharmacy technicians, paramedics, firefighters and retired nurses.
For health professionals who want to sign up to support B.C.’s immunization efforts as immunizers, visit: https://forms.hlth.gov.bc.ca/registry-covid-19
Immunizing other priority groups identified in Phase 2, many of whom have already received their first dose, is also underway, including:
* Indigenous communities, Indigenous Elders, hospital staff, community general practitioners and medical specialists not immunized in Phase 1;
* vulnerable populations living and working in select congregate settings; and
* staff in community home support and nursing services for seniors.