The provincial government is offering priority COVID-19 immunizations for BC pregnant women over the age of 16.
The announcement was made on Tuesday afternoon by the Ministry of Health. Recent data in the province shows that pregnant people can experience severe illness from COVID-19, including similar symptoms to those in older age groups.
“I encourage everyone to register and receive their vaccine as soon as they are eligible,” Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a statement. “Today, this includes people who are pregnant.”
“We have reviewed the data here in BC and this shows pregnant people experience severe illness from COVID-19 at a rate that is similar to people who are in their 50s. By prioritizing pregnant people today, we add another layer of protection for them, their babies and their communities.”
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The Ministry of Health said that in order to book an immunization, eligible people can phone 1-833-838-2323 and identify as being pregnant. Online booking for pregnant people is not available.
Henry, who hinted at the priority immunizations during Monday’s press conference, said there’s a surplus of information that “reaffirms the safety” of all the vaccines in all stages of pregnancy.
“We also know now that there’s good evidence that immunization in women who are breastfeeding means transfer of antibodies to the infant as well.”
Health officials are also considering a shorter window between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
This week, adults in the province over the age of 50 will be able to register and book an immunization appointment.