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B.C.’s clinically extremely vulnerable will need invite to get COVID-19 vaccine

A laboratory technician holds a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines at the Bidafarma wholesale distribution cooperative in Santa Fe, on the outskirts of near Granada, on January 21, 2021. (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO / AFP) (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO/AFP via Getty Images) . JORGE GUERRERO/AFP via Getty Images

British Columbians who are identified to be clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) will need to present an invitation letter when going to their COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

People at higher risk from COVID-19 due to existing medical conditions, such as various forms of cancer, transplant recipients and severe respiratory conditions will start getting those letters in the mail in the coming days with booking information.

Anyone identified as CEV will be able to register for their vaccine beginning Monday, and must bring the letter to wherever they are getting the vaccination.

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“B.C. has made tremendous progress on our age-based vaccine program,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a release.

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“Now, we are able to expand to those people who are at increased risk from COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions or various medical treatments. Clinical experts have now determined those who have a high risk of severe illness from the virus and now have the vaccine supply to protect these most vulnerable people.”

The accelerated timelines for B.C.’s immunization plan mean approximately 200,000 people in B.C. aged 16 years and older who are clinically extremely vulnerable are eligible to receive their first dose of vaccine in the coming weeks.

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Some of the vulnerable populations will have already been immunized as part of B.C.’s age-based vaccine program.

If people who believe they are in the CEV group have not received a letter by April 15, 2021, they can contact the provincial call centre or visit the get vaccinated provincial online registration and booking system, which is scheduled to launch on April 6.

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If someone is not on the CEV list, they can reach out to their physician or nurse practitioner about their eligibility.

“Since day one of our immunization plan, we have set out to protect those who are most at risk to COVID-19,” B.C. immunization plan lead Dr. Penny Ballem said.

“We used clinical evidence from around the world and clinical expertise and patient registries in B.C. to develop this list and look forward to taking another important step forward in our immunization plan.”

Read more: B.C. prioritizing age and vulnerable people over non-medical essential workers in mass COVID-19 immunization plan

The province is also accelerating the registration for the age-based plan.

Those born in 1945 are able to book a vaccination appointment starting Wednesday, March 24 at noon.

Then on Thursday, March 25 at noon those born in 1946 can register over the phone or online in Fraser Health and on Friday, March 26 at noon the registration system opens for those born in 1947.

The CEV populations were determined through scientific evidence from other countries and across Canada about those who have ended up in the hospital, ICU, or passed away from COVID-19, and B.C. data was reviewed to see what risk factors were most linked to serious illness or to death from COVID-19.

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The eligibility list for the clinically vulnerable is available online.

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