B.C. public health officials announced Thursday that people will be offered the second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine about eight weeks after the first dose.
Due to an increase in vaccine supply, the gap is shrinking from 13 weeks — down from the original plan of 16 weeks.
This means more than 400,000 British Columbians will be contacted over the next few days about booking a second shot.
At a news conference, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry urged everyone to ensure they are registered in the province’s Get Vaccinated system.
“What we don’t have in the registration system is an email or phone number, which means if you’re not in the system, you can’t get the automated text or call. We are sending letters and you will get a letter from me. It may just be a bit delayed,” Henry said.
The order of receiving second doses will be based on the same principles as the first dose, according to Henry.
This means those over the age of 70, Indigenous people, and those who are clinical extremely vulnerable will be prioritized.
So far, 3,032,811 doses of vaccine have been administered in B.C., of which 156,730 are second doses. About two thirds of all adults have received at least one dose.
Because of a shortage of the Moderna vaccine, officials said those who received Moderna as a first dose will receive Pfizer when necessary.
For remote communities where Moderna was used, the goal will be to use B.C.’s current Moderna supply for second doses.
“While it is always preferable, we now have good evidence you can have an alternative that is same type,” Henry said.
“I would encourage taking Pfizer if it is offered. We know it is safe and works just as well.”
As for those who received AstraZeneca, the province will not be shrinking the gap to eight weeks yet. Henry said details will come next week about whether those who received AstraZeneca as a first dose can mix and match and receive Pfizer as a second dose.
Everyone in B.C. will have a second COVID-19 vaccine dose offered to them before the end of August, Henry said.