Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health (Colin Smith Takes Pics)

The BC government declared on Monday morning that Phase 2 for vaccine rollout is in effect.

Phase 2 expands the populations of people who can receive a COVID-19 vaccine to protect the most vulnerable, protect the health care system, and control outbreaks; it was meant to rollout in February but was delayed due to a supply shortage.

Immunizations will prioritize those who have yet to be vaccinated from Phase 1.

Those who qualify for immunization in Phase 2 include seniors 80 and over, Indigenous Elders 65 and over, and isolated indigenous communities not vaccinated.

Last week, BC administered its highest number of vaccine doses to date.

58,000 people received a dose, either the first or second, and the highest day of doses in one day last week was 15,000 doses.

Through March, BC will see 415,000 doses shipped next week, mostly Pfizer (+255,000) and Moderna (+150,000, shipped in two in mid to late March) .

AstraZeneca shipments are pending. Johnson & Johnson has been approved from the FDA, but is pending approval from Health Canada.

March’s immunization plan breaks down like this:

  • 415,000 doses in March
  • Priority from Phase 1 = 190,000
  • Remote Indigenous populations = 9000
  • People born before 1941 = 175000
  • Indigenous born before 1956 (56+) = 35,000
  • Vaccinations reserved for outbreaks = 6,000

Who qualifies for Phase 2?

Below is a graph with details regarding who qualifies for a vaccination:

 

Booking an appointment for a vaccine

The BC government will set up a call-in system that is set to launch on March 8th.

If you qualify, you can start booking your appointments for March 15th, when immunizations will begin for Phase 2 eligible recipients.

The BC government has suggested to not overwhelm the system on March 8th.

“The first few days may be brutal, we’ve seen the gaps in technology when setting these systems up, like in Alberta,” said Dr. Penny Ballem, executive lead of the B.C. immunization rollout team.

Appointments can be made at any available clinics.

March 13th immunizations will be based on cohorts segmented by age, starting with people in their 90’s through to their 80’s and so on.

Vulnerable areas and populations will be targeted for mass immunization too.

“Fraser Health will be able to book online, because Fraser Health has a lot of vulnerable populations in the Phase 2 category,” said Dr. Ballem.

As of February 28th, 275,681 doses of COVID-19 vaccine and 82,810 second doses have been administered in BC.

“We’ve tracked each dose and what group they [the recipient] were in. This has allowed us to understand the effectiveness of the vaccines in our communities. This is a new day for our vaccination program in our ability to do this,” said Dr. Ballem. 

“A single dose provides lots of protection, which is why we have extended the intervals in which you can receive a second dose.”

Provincial Health Officials said that by March 400,000 people will be immunized and asserted that the vaccine, even after one dose, provides “dramatic protection, even just after 21 days,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“We are extending our interval between second doses between 4 months and 16 weeks. Extending the second dose provides high-end protection for more people.”

Phase 3 will see people ages of 79 to 60 vaccinated from April to June and Phase 4 will see the BC population aged 59 to 18 vaccinated from July to September.

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