Expectant British Columbians are only prioritized for a vaccine if they also have a serious heart condition – congenital or acquired – that requires them to see a cardiac specialist during their pregnancy. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)

Expectant British Columbians are only prioritized for a vaccine if they also have a serious heart condition – congenital or acquired – that requires them to see a cardiac specialist during their pregnancy. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)

Pregnant Ontarians move up vaccine priority list, while British Columbians wait their turn

B.C. only prioritizing pregnant people who also have serious heart condition

As pregnant people in Ontario moved up in the province’s priority vaccination list Friday, their counterparts in B.C. still have to wait their turn in the age-based roll-out.

All pregnant Ontarians were moved into the “highest risk” category, which is being vaccinated right now, on April 23. But on the West Coast, expectant British Columbians are only prioritized if they also have a serious heart condition – congenital or acquired – that requires them to see a cardiac specialist during their pregnancy. These individuals are eligible for a vaccine under B.C.’s clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) category.

This means pregnant parents without a heart condition, have to wait their turn in the jab roll-out.

B.C.’s Ministry of Health encourages pregnant people to get protected with the vaccine once they’re eligible, a spokesperson told Black Press Media Friday.

READ: B.C.’s ‘extremely medically vulnerable’ can begin booking COVID-19 shots March 29

“Our immunization program is targeted to immunize those who are at the highest risk of COVID-19,” said the ministry’s Marielle Tounsi, in a statement. She added that the province’s vaccination focus is on the age-based program, offering AstraZeneca to people 40 and over in pharmacies, CEV groups and outbreak management.

The ministry said vaccine deployment decisions are based on the best available science and evidence, and that they’ll “start to add additional priority groups” as they get more vaccines.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control says pregnant people are three times more likely than the general population to end up in the intensive care unit if they’re infected with COVID-19.

Sarka Lisonkova, a perinatal epidemiologist, said those pregnant ICU patients with COVID-19 can require a high level of care, including machine breathing support, and are at higher risk of dying if that happens.

“Although the actual risk of severe illness and death among pregnant women is very low, it is higher when compared to non-pregnant women from the same age group,” she told Black Press Media.

READ: U.S. recommends pregnant women get COVID vaccine after study shows it’s safe

Pregnant people who are hesitant to get vaccinated could be putting themselves at risk. Lisonkova, a University of B.C. associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, said contracting COVID-19 while pregnant can increase the risk of premature births, especially for those with severe illness.

The BCCDC says getting a COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant causes no known increased risk of miscarriages or birth defects. Lisonkova agreed, saying although the clinical trials for Canada’s approved vaccines didn’t focus on pregnant women, there’s no evidence of harm to them or their babies.

“Adverse events among pregnant women are also monitored in Canada and there has been no reason for concern so far,” Lisonkova said.

READ: Canada buys 65M Pfizer booster shots for protection against COVID-19 variants


Do you have a story tip? Email: jake.romphf@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

British ColumbiaWest Shore

Just Posted

B.C. Centre for Disease Control data showing new cases by local health area for the week of May 2-8. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island COVID-19 local case counts the lowest they’ve been all year

On some areas of Island, more than 60 per cent of adults have received a vaccine dose

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Island’s daily COVID-19 case count drops below 10 for just the second time in 2021

Province reports 8 new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island Wednesday

Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Campbell River dock fire spread slowed thanks to security guard

Creosote docks pose challenges for fire fighters

Scenes like this one in the dugout are all too frequent for parents and kids arriving to play baseball at Nunns Creek Park these days, spurring a request to the city to let them move to the Sportsplex in Willow Point. Photo from CRMB presentation to City of Campbell River
Safety concerns run Campbell River Minor Baseball out of Nunns Creek Park

Parents say ‘needle and feces sweeps’ have become part of everyday life for the baseball community

The cover of the newly redesigned Beaver Lodge Forest Lands activity guide. Photo courtesy Greenways Land Trust
Greenways redesigns Beaver Lodge activity guide

Guide has helped teach students for over a decade

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Canada’s demo Hornet soars over the Strait of Georgia near Comox. The F-18 demo team is returning to the Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Sgt. Robert Bottrill/DND
F-18 flight demo team returning to Vancouver Island for spring training

The team will be in the Comox Valley area from May 16 to 24

Saanich police and a coroner investigated a fatal crash in the 5200-block of West Saanich Road on Feb. 4, 2021. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Police determine speed, impairment not factors in fatal Greater Victoria crash

Driver who died veered across centre line into oncoming traffic for unknown reason, police say

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Bow-legged bear returns to Ladysmith, has an appointment with the vet

Brown Drive Park closed as conservation officers search for her after she returned from relocation

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Signage for ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
$150 refunds issued to eligible customers following ICBC’s switch to ‘enhanced care’

Savings amassed from the insurance policy change will lead to one-time rebates for close to 4 million customers

Pixabay
Island Health: two doctors, new clinic space to avert Port McNeill health crisis

Island Health has leased space to use as an immediate clinic location to avert health crisis

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Most Read