British Columbia is lowering the eligibility age for receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to 40 and above this week.
The announcement was made on Monday afternoon by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, Health Minister Adrian Dix, and Premier John Horgan.
The decision was made in an effort to combat and manage increasing hospitalizations from the COVID-19 virus. In addition to expanding the age eligibility, BC will also be launching targeted AstraZeneca clinics in select high-risk communities.
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This program will be open to anyone in those communities over the age of 40 and is an additional immunization stream to BC’s age-based vaccination approach and the pharmacy program.
The following high-risk communities will also be targeted, based on having the highest COVID-19 case rates per 100,000 people. Most of the initial communities, according to health officials, are in the Fraser Health area.
The province also says that they’ve received an additional 75,000 doses of AstraZeneca from the United States, with close to 88,000 remaining across pharmacies in BC.