People in B.C. can look ahead to their next COVID-19 vaccine dose with the Province announcing a fall booster program as the next step in its COVID-19 immunization plan.
B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy has helped keep people protected from the severe illness associated with getting this virus. With the fall and winter respiratory illness season approaching, the Province is offering a booster dose to protect people 12 years and older and provide them with sustained protection over these difficult months when respiratory infections increase.
The Province first rolled out a booster program in October 2021. Since then, many British Columbians have received their booster dose, but approximately 1.3 million individuals still need to do so. Public health advises that everyone should get their first booster dose as soon as possible to strengthen and extend their protection.
Since April 2022, a second booster dose has been recommended and available to people living in long-term care facilities, people over 70, Indigenous people over 55, and those of all ages who are immunosuppressed, to ensure this group maintains a high level of protection against poor outcomes from COVID-19.
The most recent recommendation from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is that people at increased risk of severe illness and those 65 years and older should receive a booster in the fall. For all other individuals between 12 and 64, NACI and the Province also encourage a fall booster. NACI also recommends that all fall booster shots should be done six months or more since the last one.
Health Canada and NACI have started evaluating new versions of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been adapted to the Omicron variant. The Province expects these vaccines to be available to people in B.C. in the fall.
Although the number of cases has recently gone down due to high levels of vaccinations, COVID-19 is still circulating in all communities in B.C. Public health is keeping a close eye on how the virus behaves to continue to provide the best advice possible to protect British Columbians, B.C.’s health-care system and communities. This is why a fall booster is recommended.
Although people are advised to wait until the fall to receive their booster, those under 70 who got their last shot six months or more ago and who feel they have unique or special circumstances, can make an appointment for a second booster through the call centre.
Vaccinations for children aged six months to four years are subject to Health Canada approval and are anticipated to be coming soon. Parents are strongly encouraged to register their child now online: www.getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca
Similar to the vaccine for children five to 11, the vaccine program for children aged six months to four years will draw on a separate supply of vaccine designed for small children and will be delivered in clinics appropriate for that age group.
People who have not had their first booster are not protected enough from severe illness related to COVID-19 and are not up to date with their protection. Those who have had COVID-19 still need a booster to ensure they are protected.
COVID-19 vaccinations are available in participating pharmacies and health authority clinics throughout the province. People can make appointments through Get Vaccinated BC.
- As of July 6, 2022, 2,760,192 third doses have been administered in B.C. This is 59.5% of the 12+ population.
- All recommended booster doses are mRNA vaccines. Those who received AstraZeneca for the first or second dose are recommended to receive Moderna or Pfizer for the booster.
- Vaccine effectiveness data from early April through early May 2022, when Omicron variant activity was very high in Canada, shows that people vaccinated with a complete primary series plus one booster dose, had a risk of being hospitalized approximately five times lower compared to unvaccinated people.
For the July 8, 2022, presentation, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/COVID19_Immunization_Plan_Fall_July8_2022.pdf
For information about booster shots, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/booster
For information on a third dose for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/plan#immunocompromised
To register to be immunized or to learn about getting your booster dose, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/register
The latest updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and to find a testing centre near you: http://www.bccdc.ca/
Or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.