The Province of British Columbia is preparing to immunize more than 400,000 people in British Columbia in Phase 2 of the vaccination plan, which takes place between March and early April. Phase 1 immunizations have proven to be very effective in stopping long-term care outbreaks and protecting health care workers. In both cases, new cases have dropped to near-zero.
Phase 2 priority will be based on high-risk populations first, based on age and vulnerability. Between March 1 and 15, the provincial Health Authorities will reach out to seniors and high-risk people living in independent living homes (including staff), seniors in supportive housing, and long-term home support clients and staff. Other priority populations include health care workers. After March 15, vaccines start for seniors born in or before 1931 (90 years and older) and Indigenous peoples born in or before 1956 (65 years and older). Call centres will be used for booking starting March 8.
The second immunization will be pushed off for as long as four months (originally recommended was two weeks). This will allow for a wider, faster distribution of the first vaccine. A first vaccine has shown itself to be incredibly effective.
BC, as with the rest of Canada, is dependent on off-shore supplies. This means that we have to do everything we can to minimize the spread. The Phase 2 vaccine supply is currently set at 415,000 confirmed vaccines for dose 1 from March to mid-April. Pfizer’s commitment is clear through to March 29, 2021, for 255,000 doses. Moderna will arrive in two shipments in mid to late March, for a total of 160,000 doses. The AstraZeneca vaccine schedule is pending. A Johnson and Johnson vaccine has received American emergency approval and Health Canada is currently examining evidence; Canadian approval is pending. No supply information is currently available.
March 1-15: Continue with Phase 2 priority groups including:
- High-risk individuals living in various congregate settings
- Health care workers – hospital and community
- High-risk seniors living in independent living homes (staff included)
- High-risk seniors supportive housing clients
- Long-term home support clients and staff
March 15 – April 11: Population 80+ and Indigenous peoples 65+
- First age cohort of the general public to begin being vaccinated.
- Call-in system starting March 8 to book appointments for vaccination starting March 15.
- Each Health Authority will have a unique call centre number.
- Appointments can be made for any of the available clinics.
- The 80+population will be divided into subgroups based on age/year of birth to allow the call centres to manage volume.
- In some smaller, remote, and Indigenous communities, appointment and vaccination schedules may differ slightly from the provincial schedules.
Call-in Schedule: 80+ Seniors and 65+ Indigenous Peoples
People should only call in when they are eligible. Anyone who misses their age-based dates can still call, book and be vaccinated at any time after they become eligible. A senior can also have a family member, friend, or any support person call for them.
Health authority call center information and the step-by-step process will be available via gov.bc.ca/bcseniorsfirst and health authority websites. Health authority call centres will never ask you for your SIN, driver’s license number or banking and credit card details. When you call your health authority, you will be asked for the following:
- First and last name
- Date of birth
- Postal code
- Personal Health Number (previously called CareCard)
- Contact information (email/mobile phone of senior or support person email/mobile phone).
People will be given a list of close-to-home clinics to choose from. The call centre agent will confirm your appointment time and location.
Phase 3 is scheduled to begin mid-April and will include a two-step online registration and booking system, with a provincial call centre for help if needed. The online registration system will provide British Columbians with a simple online tool to register for their appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals in this phase, starting with those born in 1946 or earlier (75+), and Indigenous peoples born in 1961 or earlier (60+), will be able to register for an appointment through this online system or with the help of a provincial call centre at the end of March. During this phase, mass immunization clinics in communities across the province will be operational. Mobile clinics will visit rural communities and people who are homebound due to mobility issues. More details about the online platform will be made available in the coming weeks.
Watch the full announcement here: