British Columbia’s Ministry of Health says that measures are on the way to prevent residents from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine ahead of when they’re scheduled to.
The message comes shortly after a Canadian couple was charged for allegedly flying from Vancouver to Yukon to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Rodney Baker, 55, and Ekaterina Baker, 32, reportedly chartered a plane to the small community of Beaver Creek and told staff at the community’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic that they were both working at a local motel.
This isn’t the first occurrence of individuals receiving a vaccine early, either. This month, health officials also addressed physicians in Vancouver Coastal Health who skipped ahead of the line to get their second dose of the vaccine ahead of schedule.
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“There is no room in BC’s COVID-19 Immunization plan for people who deliberately put vulnerable populations at risk in order to receive their vaccine before the start of their eligibility group,” says the Ministry of Health in a statement.
“As we move towards immunizing the general public in Phases 3 and 4, there will be clear processes in place to ensure people can verify their age and that they are currently living in BC”
Pre-registration for the COVID-19 vaccine is estimated to begin in March. It will be open online and by phone to the general public, starting with those aged 79 to 75. People who are pre-registered will get a reminder to book their appointment as soon as they are eligible.
“The pre-registration process will help ensure people wait their turn,” adds the Ministry of Health. “The system will not allow people to book an appointment until their age category is eligible to pre-register for an appointment for the dose that they should be receiving.”
The province also notes that no one will lose their place in line. For example, if an elderly relative is in Phase 2 and cannot be immunized at that time, they can be immunized at any point thereafter.
Approximately 4 million British Columbians are eligible to receive the COVID-19 immunization and clinics will be set up in 172 communities across the province.