Hospitalization rate by age for B.C. residents who are infected with COVID-19 after receiving two doses of vaccine during the fourth wave of the pandemic that began this summer. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)

Hospitalization rate by age for B.C. residents who are infected with COVID-19 after receiving two doses of vaccine during the fourth wave of the pandemic that began this summer. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)

COVID-19 booster shot to be available to all British Columbians 12 and older by May 2022

Starts with elderly, Indigenous communities, registration needed

B.C.’s health ministry is beginning to offer third doses of COVID-19 vaccine, starting with seniors, Indigenous people and other high-risk groups and moving to the general population in an age-based system starting in January.

Third doses have already begun for seniors in long-term care and will continue with older people in the community, starting with people aged 70 and older by December. Public health data are showing “breakthrough” infections increase with age among people who have received two doses. Indigenous communities and higher-risk people are to be offered third shots for all age groups.

Registration will be required for second and third doses as the vaccination effort moves away from drop-in clinics, except for those who are receiving first doses. Pharmacies will be participating in the third dose program, which will use messenger RNA vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna, including for those who received AstraZeneca vaccine for their initial immunization.

B.C. health authorities continue to operate scheduled appointment and walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics around the province. A list of clinic locations and hours by region can be found here. Registration and booking appointments in B.C. can be done here, or by calling 1-833-838-2323 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. seven days a week.

In January, third doses will be offered to health care workers in acute and long-term care as well as community health facilities. Third doses will not be required for access to restaurants, theatres and other public spaces that require the B.C. vaccine card.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Oct. 26 the effectiveness of vaccines is declining gradually over time, and the longer interval between doses that B.C. used is showing better effectiveness than in countries such as the U.S. and Israel where doses were delivered according to the original manufacturers’ guidelines. For healthy people living in the community, the plan is to deliver third doses six to eight months after the second dose.

RELATED: Air Canada begins offering COVID-19 self-testing kits

RELATED: B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate starting to decline


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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