BC’s top doctor says COVID-19 booster shots will be a priority for frontline healthcare workers, rural Indigenous people and people over 70 as they are at greatest risk of experience breakthrough infections, however, injections will eventually be offered to any resident who wishes one.
Provincial health worker Dr. Bonnie Henry says the most immunocompromised groups and people were vaccinated first and are on the verge of losing their immunity just before flu season.
She says the third dose will be given to these residents through December as part of a program already underway and that appointment bookings will be offered based on the time elapsed since their second dose, typically six to eight. month.
Henry says the most clinically vulnerable people and healthcare workers will be eligible for booster shots starting in January.
The provincial health worker is optimistic that a third dose could provide years of protection against the virus because of the long intervals between injections to maximize the benefits of the vaccination.
“We also know that from the studies that have been done by Pfizer and Moderna around their booster doses, you get a good, strong and rapid antibody response when you get that booster dose, so we know that will give a extra protection over the next few months, ”said Dr Henry, adding that the hope is that a third hit will add protection for years to come.
In order to roll out the booster program, the government plans to build on the systems and infrastructure already in place, including BC’s online Get Vaccinated Center. The province says anyone currently enrolled in the Get vaccinated system will be asked to reserve their booster dose online once it is their turn. The provincial call center at 1-833-838-2323 will continue to be available for those who cannot access the online reservation as well.
In addition, the province plans to train and use more pharmacies to give booster shots in the hopes that at least 85% of those in British Columbia will participate in the campaign.
Depending on the province, only mRNA vaccines – Pfizer and Moderna – are available for booster shots at this time and anyone who has received AstraZeneca will be offered one of these two options for their third dose. The government emphasizes that there is also no need to align residents’ current vaccines with their booster shots.
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“We really want this campaign to be more relaxed than the last one, as Dr Henry said, this recall campaign is all about giving people that extra boost that will hopefully sustain them for many months to come.” said Dr Penny Ballem. , Executive Director of British Columbia’s COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts.
“This is really the thing that is going to allow us to bring this pandemic to a more stable state… and allow us to get back to our lives as quickly as possible. “
Overall, the program is expected to run until the end of May to provide booster shots to British Columbians who wish to receive them.
“I think the message I’m getting is that most of us have good, strong protection and we don’t need a booster right now. But, next spring, that’s something we should consider for long-term protection, ”adds Dr Henry.
“We will have more information as we monitor what happens, as we review the effectiveness of our vaccine over the next few months. “
A plan to start immunizing children between the ages of five and 11 is also expected to begin pending Health Canada approval, although parents can already register their children for the vaccine.