BC to offer COVID-19 vaccine to teachers, first responders starting next month

Mar 18 2021, 1:25 pm

The provincial government says that more than 300,000 frontline workers in British Columbia will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in the coming weeks.

The announcement was shared on Thursday afternoon by Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, and executive lead of BC’s immunization rollout team, Dr. Penny Ballum.

“We will be receiving close to 300,000 doses starting, we hope, in the last week of March or the first week of April,” said Henry.

The province will receive a total of 272,000 doses of AstraZeneca and COVISHIELD vaccine in the coming weeks.

This is in addition to the 68,000 doses of COVISHIELD that were received earlier this month, which was focused on ongoing and repeated outbreaks across BC as well as different workplaces that struggled with COVID-19 transmission.

Of the 272,000 doses, BC is expecting 68,000 doses of AstraZeneca in late March, 136,000 of COVISHIELD in April, and an additional 68,000 of COVISHIELD in late May. Any remaining vaccine doses from the previous phase will also be added to this amount.

Health authorities and WorkSafeBC identified some of the highest-risk worksites across the province and will be focusing vaccination efforts on these “priority groups”:

The following frontline workers have been identified:

  • First responders (police, firefighters, emergency transport)
  • K-12 educational staff
  • Childcare staff
  • Grocery store workers
  • Postal workers
  • Bylaw and quarantine officers
  • Manufacturing workers
  • Wholesale and warehousing employees
  • Staff living in congregate housing at places such as ski hills
  • Correctional facilities staff
  • Cross-border transport staff

Health officials also announced that the age-based immunization rollout, which uses Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, is “moving forward ahead of schedule.”

The next age cohort, which includes those between the ages of 79 and 70, as well as Indigenous peoples over 55 years old, will start on Saturday, March 20.

The call-in schedule for the next cohort is as follows:

  • Age 79 and Indigenous peoples 55 and older — Saturday, March 20 starting at 12 pm
  • Age 78 — Monday, March 22 at 12 pm
  • Age 77 — Tuesday, March 23 at 12 pm
  • Age 76 — Thursday, March 25 at 12 pm
  • Age 75 — Saturday, March 27 at 12 pm

The schedule for those between the ages of 70 and 74 is expected in the coming days. The timeline for COVID-19 vaccinations across all age groups has also been updated and is as follows:

Phase 3

People aged 79 to 60, in five-year increments:

  • 79 to 75 (Dose 1 (D1) April)
  • 74 to 70 (D1 April)
  • 69 to 65 (D1 April)
  • 64 to 50 (D1 April)

Phase 4

People aged 59 to 18, in five-year increments:

  • 59 to 55 (D1 May)
  • 54 to 50 (D1 May)
  • 49 to 45 (D1 May)
  • 44 to 40 (D1 May/June)
  • 39 to 35 (D1 June)
  • 34 to 30 (D1 June)
  • 29 to 25 (D1 June)
  • 24 to 18 (D1 June)

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