More than 300,000 front-line workers, including first responders, grocery store employees, and teachers and child care workers, will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations over the coming weeks as the Province’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan moves forward ahead of schedule.
Beginning in April, people in priority groups identified by public health and the COVID-19 Workplace Task Group will start to receive their first dose of the AstraZeneca/SII COVISHIELD (AZ/SII) vaccine.
These groups include:
- first responders (police, firefighters, emergency transport);
- K-12 educational staff;
- child care staff;
- grocery store workers;
- postal workers;
- bylaw and quarantine officers;
- manufacturing workers;
- wholesale/warehousing employees;
- staff living in congregate housing at places such as ski hills;
- correctional facilities staff; and
- cross-border transport staff.
These priority groups have been identified as workers in places and sectors where:
- the use of personal protective equipment and barriers can be challenging;
- outbreaks and clusters have occurred or are ongoing;
- workers must live or work in congregate settings; or
- maintaining the workforce for a critical service is necessary.
These sectors or settings prioritized for the AZ/SII vaccine are in addition to the workplaces previously identified by public health where vaccines are being used to assist with outbreak response. Currently in B.C., the first shipment of AZ/SII is being deployed to protect people in workplaces identified as having the highest risk of COVID-19 transmission, including:
- food processing plants, including poultry, fruit and fish processing;
- agricultural operations with congregate worker accommodations, including farms, nurseries and greenhouses; and
- large industrial camps with congregate accommodations for workers.
In total, B.C. expects to receive approximately 340,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine by the end of May 2021. The Province will use a combination of community pharmacists, existing immunization clinics and mobile clinics at some worksites to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine to front-line workers.
Booking arrangements for front-line workers will be established in the coming weeks and will be communicated clearly and directly to each sector to arrange bookings. Workers identified as “front-line” and prioritized for the AstraZeneca vaccine should not call into regional health authority call centres at this time.
The age-based vaccine rollout using the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is also accelerating and moving forward ahead of schedule. Currently, every senior born in 1941 or before (80 years old and over) and Indigenous peoples born in or before 1956 (65 years old and over) will be eligible to book a vaccination appointment by Friday, March 19, 2021.
The next age cohort is eligible to call as early as Saturday, March 20. The call centre approach through health authorities has now been extended to include those born between the years of 1942 to 1951 (79-70 year olds) and Indigenous peoples born in 1966 and before (55 and over).
This age cohort call-in schedule will begin as follows:
- age 79 and Indigenous peoples 55 and older – Saturday, March 20 at noon
- age 78 – Monday, March 22 at noon
- age 77 – Tuesday, March 23 at noon
- age 76 – Thursday, March 25 at noon
- age 75 – Saturday, March 27 at noon
The call-in schedule for the age 70 to 74 age cohort will be announced in the coming days.
The provincial registration and booking system, both online and by phone, will be implemented starting April 6, 2021, for people between the ages of 65-69. As a result, the Province has adjusted timelines for Phase 3 and Phase 4 of B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan.
Everyone in B.C. who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine will now be able to receive a first dose before July 1, 2021 (see backgrounder).
Workers, workplaces and industries prioritized in B.C.’s plan have been identified based on recommendations and input of a number of national and provincial groups, including the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, COVID-19 Workplace Task Group and B.C.’s Immunization Committee.
Timelines for vaccinations
As a result of increased vaccine supply and shifting Dose 2 timelines to 16 weeks, B.C. is now in position to adjust previously announced timelines for the general population for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The below timelines are contingent on vaccine supply and the latest available science and data. These timelines may be adjusted.
People aged 79 to 60, in five-year increments:
- 79 to 75 (dose 1 (D1) April)
- 74 to 70 (D1 April)
- 69 to 65 (D1 April)
- 64 to 60 (D1 April/May)
- People aged 69 to 16 who are clinically extremely vulnerable (D1 March/April)
For a list of who is considered extremely vulnerable: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/plan#clinically-vulnerable
People aged 59 to 18, in five-year increments:
- 59 to 55 (D1 May)
- 54 to 50 (D1 May)
- 49 to 45 (D1 May)
- 44 to 40 (D1 May/June)
- 39 to 35 (D1 May/June)
- 34 to 30 (D1 June)
- 29 to 25 (D1 June)
- 24 to 18 (D1 June)
Vaccine Flow: Changes in Supply Mid March to April 18
- Pfizer and Moderna :
- On March 1, the PHO decision to shift to an extended Dose 2 and the subsequent increased deliveries projected of both Pfizer and Moderna have increased the available vaccines from an estimated 415,000 for Dose 1 to an estimated 906,000 available for Dose 1 for the period March 1 April 18, 2021.
- Astra Zeneca/COVISHIELD/SII (addressed elsewhere):
- March 9 68,000 units of COVISHIELD/SII arrived.
- Late March 68,000 doses of Astra Zeneca due to arrive from COVAX.
- April a further 136,000 doses of COVISHIELD/SII due to arrive.
- Late May a further 68,000 doses of COVISHIELD/SII.
- Johnson and Johnson vaccine approved, no supply identified to date.
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