The province made the decision in March to extend the gap between doses to 16 weeks — up from the pharmaceutical companies’ recommended three to four weeks — in order to maximize the number of British Columbians receiving partial protection against the virus.
But Henry said vaccine supply is now coming in at such a rate, with a significant boost over the next six weeks, that the wait for a second jab will be significantly shorter.
“We’ve already moved up to about 13 weeks for most people, except for the people who received it very early on,” Henry said.
“Everybody will be eligible within a much shorter period of time in the coming weeks, and we expect that to happen within the next two weeks.”
Henry said the accelerated schedule would mean that everyone is moved up in the second dose queue, with the elderly and clinically extremely vulnerable at the front of the line.
“Those who are older who have not yet received their second dose can expect to be notified very soon,” she said.
Earlier Thursday, federal deputy chief public health officer Dr. Edward Njoo also suggested Canada was on track to cut the interval between vaccine doses.
“I think obviously more doses coming to the country very quickly, we’re well on track to offer that second dose,” Njoo said.
“I think we’re on track to shorten the interval depending obviously on supply.”
Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended a maximum interval on vaccine doses of four months, much longer than manufacturers’ recommended time span of three to four weeks.
While the province has a record of everyone who has received a first dose of vaccine, it does not have contact information for people who got their shot early in the immunization campaign.
Henry said those people should go to the province’s Get Vaccinated website or phone in to ensure they are registered, which will allow public health to contact them when it’s their turn to get their second dose.
“Even if it’s more than once, it’s fine.”
As of Thursday, B.C. had given first doses of vaccine to more than 2.54 million people, accounting for nearly 50 per cent of the province’s entire population.
Youth aged 12 to 17 are now eligible to register for their vaccine, which the province estimates will add another 310,000 people to that figure in the coming weeks.
–With files from David LaoView link »