British Columbia’s mass population will be able to receive booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine starting early 2022.
The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix. They were joined by Dr. Penny Ballem, Executive Lead of BC’s immunization rollout team.
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Close to 90% of eligible people over the age of 12 have already received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Health officials say that there are pockets in the province, however, where breakthrough cases and infections in younger people are being seen. The majority of hospitalizations occur in older adults, specifically those over the age of 80.
Booster doses are already being offered to adults in long-term care and assisted living, as well as people who are considered immunocompromised.
As for the broader population over the age of 12, booster doses are expected to begin in January 2022. They will be available to everyone who has received their first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Each person will receive an invitation to book their appointment within six to eight months of their second dose, depending on their personal risk. Higher risk groups, such as populations experiencing breakthrough infections, older adults over the age of 70, and Indigenous people will be prioritized.
Healthcare workers that work in high-risk settings such as acute care, long-term care, and assisted living will receive booster doses before the program for the broader population begins.
The booster dose will be an mRNA vaccine, either Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax). Health officials say that there’s no need to get the same vaccine you received for your first or second shot and either Pfizer or Moderna is acceptable for the booster. Anyone who received AstraZeneca in the past will receive an mRNA vaccine as well.
In order to book an appointment, British Columbians will need to be registered in the Get Vaccinated system. People registered will be invited to book online when it’s their turn. Those without online access can use the provincial call centre.
Similar to first and second doses, doses can be received at community-based immunization clinics and community programs. Pharmacies are also being brought on board to support the booster dose program.
At this point in time, drop-ins will not be available and an appointment must be made.
More to come…