The provincial government said Monday that the AstraZeneca vaccine is now available to people aged 40 and older at pharmacies across the province.
The province is also setting up targeted AstraZeneca vaccine clinics in high-risk communities that have experienced high rates of COVID-19 transmission over the past 14 days and where more than 80 per cent of people over 40 are unvaccinated.
B.C. has immediate access to an additional 75,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from the U.S., which will allow the province to speed up its vaccination schedule.
The province had administered 114,171 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine as of April 14. There are around 88,000 AstraZeneca doses currently in the system at over 600 pharmacies.
Alan Glasser from Marks Pharmacy in Delta told CKNW that people between the ages of 40 and 55 showed up at the pharmacy on Monday afternoon requesting a jab and he “started giving shots immediately.”
Clinics will be set up in the following communities:
- Dawson CreekWest Newton (Surrey)
- Whalley (Surrey)
- North Delta
- East Newton (Surrey)
- Panorama (Surrey)
- South Langley Township
- West Abbotsford
- North Surrey
- Port Coquitlam
- Kensington (Vancouver)
- Fleetwood (Surrey)
The vaccine was previously only available to residents aged 55 and older, but over the weekend Canada’s federal health minister, Patty Hajdu, said provinces and territories were “free to use” AstraZeneca’s vaccine on any groups aged 18 and above.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization currently recommends using it on those 55 or older due to a slightly elevated risk of an extremely rare blood clot disorder. NACI is currently reviewing its recommendation.
The Ontario government has said the AstraZeneca vaccine will be offered to those 40 and older starting Tuesday. Doses will be administered at more than 1,400 pharmacies across Ontario, as well as in certain doctors’ offices.
Alberta will officially allow people as young as 40 to get the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine starting Tuesday, with some pharmacies already opening up on Monday.
Manitoba also reduced the minimum age for getting the AstraZeneca vaccination to 40.
— With files from David Lao and The Canadian Press