September is not soon enough for the second round of COVID-19 booster doses according to a concerned BC group.
Protect Our Province BC (POP BC) has issued an open letter addressed to Premier John Horgan, as well as Health Minister Adrian Dix and other top BC health officials.
POP BC suggests that BC has the most restrictive access to vaccines of any province in Canada. Other parts of the country have already expanded access to booster shots.
“It makes no sense,” said POP BC member Dr. Lyne Filiatrault.
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Last week, BC health officials held a press conference outlining the plan for second boosters (fourth doses) and the fall vaccination campaign. Earlier this year, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry suggested that BC could see a COVID-19 resurgence during the fall respiratory season.
BC announced that second boosters would be coming this fall for everyone 12 and over and that as we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, the primary focus would be placed on protecting the most vulnerable people in the province.
This fall, everyone 12+ will be invited to get their second booster – for many that’s a fourth dose. Getting boosted in the fall helps to protect you and your loved ones heading into cold and flu season, when the risk of getting COVID-19 is likely highest. https://t.co/jvZFrRaS9O pic.twitter.com/tg9iNMxtvc
— BC Government News (@BCGovNews) July 8, 2022
NACI has also recommended booster shots for the fall.
“Access to a fourth dose should not be for those with privilege who can drive to the US or can spend time repeatedly calling the vaccine booking line until they get authorization. This is not the way to run a vaccine program,” said Family Physician Dr. Brenda Hardie in a POP BC statement.
Many experts are suggesting that we could see the current BA.5 Omicron wave hit its peak sometime in August, which would land before the time of BC’s fall vaccination campaign.
Daily Hive spoke to Sarah Otto, a UBC professor, who thinks the current Omicron wave could spike in August.
“Given its rapid rise, I expect the BA.5 wave to rise rapidly in July, peaking sometime in August, but we don’t yet have good projections beyond the next couple of weeks.”
“Omicron subvariants are peaking every two or three months, so a six-month vaccine strategy leaves us poorly protected for every other wave,” said POP BC member Kerri Coombs.
The change in vaccine roll-out in BC is confusing!
4th doses are now available to everyone 18+, but not everyone will be getting an invitation. @CDCofBC is recommending that you ride out the 7th wave without the full protection of vaccination.
What should you do?
— Protect Our Province BC (@Protect_BC) July 12, 2022
During last week’s presser, BC health officials recommended that people waited till fall to get their second booster dose unless they felt they absolutely needed one.
The open letter to BC leaders includes claims that BA.5 is more contagious and vaccine-evading than other Omicron sub-variants and also causes reinfection at a higher rate.
“Our healthcare workers cannot cope with yet another potential onslaught of COVID cases and more Long-COVID patients. All efforts should be directed towards limiting this wave’s growing size and impact, while protecting our burnt-out healthcare workers and our fragile and failing healthcare system from collapse,” reads the letter.
“To reiterate, Protect Our Province BC is calling on BC public health and political leaders to make the fourth dose of COVID vaccine available to everyone 12 years old and older in BC immediately, and to relax the interval length between doses. Only then will British Columbians’ protection against severe COVID outcomes be as uninterrupted as possible against BA.5 and the next variant.”