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B.C. to start providing COVID-19 booster shots for people aged 65+ this week

Click to play video: 'The latest on B.C.’s plan for COVID-19 booster shots' The latest on B.C.’s plan for COVID-19 booster shots
Global's Keith Baldrey has the latest on B.C.'S COVID-19 booster shot program, and where we are now – Dec 7, 2021

British Columbia is fast-tracking part of its COVID-19 booster shot program.

By the end of this week, people aged 65 years and up will start receiving a notification to book a booster appointment, as long as it’s been at least six months since their second vaccine dose.

“We are ahead of our plan. Please wait for your invite. It is coming and we are making very good progress with this,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in her weekly briefing on Tuesday.

Click to play video: 'Omicron variant: New questions raised about B.C.’s booster shot push' Omicron variant: New questions raised about B.C.’s booster shot push
Omicron variant: New questions raised about B.C.’s booster shot push – Dec 2, 2021

On Friday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, or NACI, said it “strongly” recommends that people 50 years old and up get a booster shot, and that booster shots of an mRNA vaccine be offered to adults aged 18 to 49 at least six months after their second dose.

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The committee’s announcement came after the federal government requested that it quickly provide directives on booster use as the Omicron variant spreads across the world.

B.C. had been aiming to vaccinate anyone under the age of 70 at six to eight months after a second dose.

Read more: NACI to update COVID-19 booster use in face of Omicron variant

Click to play video: 'Dr. Bonnie Henry on COVID-19 vaccine booster: 8 weeks min., 4-6 months optimal' Dr. Bonnie Henry on COVID-19 vaccine booster: 8 weeks min., 4-6 months optimal
Dr. Bonnie Henry on COVID-19 vaccine booster: 8 weeks min., 4-6 months optimal – Nov 9, 2021

 

British Columbians who are immunocompromised or work in health care have mostly received invites to book their booster appointment already.

The province is also fast-tracking all remaining people who have been designated  clinically extremely vulnerable, such as people with severe respiratory conditions. This group, as well as people who received two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, will start receiving invitations to book over the next few weeks, as long as it’s been six months since their second dose.

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The rest of the population will have to wait until the new year.

“Most people under the age of 65 will start receiving the invitations in January. It will be based on age and going down from there,” Henry said.

“It is a strategy that will allow for you to get your booster dose at a time that optimizes protection.”

Read more: Boosters help fight COVID-19, experts say. But are they the pathway out of the pandemic?

The province is also working to make 1,000 pharmacies available to provide the booster shots.

Pharmacies are now appearing in the province’s Get Vaccinated system to make it simpler to book an appointment.

“You don’t have to phone the different pharmacies and check the availability. You can book through the … system,” Henry said.

– with a file from Aaron D’Andrea

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