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British Columbia is the first jurisdiction in North America to offer a COVID-19 booster injection to the general population

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So far, British Columbia has followed other Canadian provinces and the United States Centers for Disease Control in offering the third dose to people living in long-term care facilities, the elderly and those living in high-risk or immunocompromised environments.

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British Columbia will be the first jurisdiction in North America to offer a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine to the general population.

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Provincial health worker Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Tuesday that starting in January, a booster dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine would be offered to British Columbians aged 12 and older who have already received their second dose.

“Our vaccines are very effective. However, we are starting to see a gradual decline in protection over time, ”said Henry. “As a result, we are taking the proactive step of extending the boosters to everyone in our province.”

So far, British Columbia has followed other Canadian provinces and the United States Centers for Disease Control in offering the third dose only to people living in long-term care facilities, the elderly and people living in high risk or immunocompromised environments.

British Columbia’s new program will provide millions of booster doses to the population aged 12 and over between January and May.

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People will be notified that they are eligible for the booster through the Get Vaccinated portal, between six and eight months from their second injection.

So, for example, if you received your second injection on August 15, you will receive a booster between February and March of next year.

Dr Penny Ballem, head of the BC vaccination program, said pharmacies would be involved in rolling out the booster and an appeal would be made to retired healthcare workers to help them with the many injections. needed over the next nine months. .

She said the recall program would be the ‘extra boost’ needed to support British Columbia until the COVID-19 pandemic becomes endemic – that’s when it will be managed like other community health problems.

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Ballem added that there was a lot of vaccine supply and that the rollout of the booster would not be affected by supply shortages like what was experienced in February of this year.

Henry noted that these supply issues resulted in a longer gap between doses (to manage supply), which was found to be beneficial, as research shows that long intervals between doses benefit immunity levels. .

Reminder clinics will be managed by health authorities in community locations, while some areas will be offered reminders as part of a community-wide vaccination approach.

Henry said having two injections will always count as being fully immunized in British Columbia

As of Tuesday, 457 new cases of COVID-19 were reported and two deaths. There are 4,829 active cases of the disease in British Columbia, of which 390 are treated in hospital, of which 155 are in intensive care.

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In British Columbia, the seven-day average of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 since the end of August has shown a dramatic and continuing increase for the Northern Health Region, from over 30 to over 50, a steady decline of indoor health over 30 to less than 15, a level slightly over 10 for Fraser Health, and a drop to less than 10 for Interior Health and Vancouver Coastal Health.

Sarah Otto, an epidemiologist at the University of British Columbia, said the figures for British Columbia had been relatively stable for several weeks.

“Basically the goal is to bend the curve and make sure the curve doesn’t exceed the capacity of your hospital,” she said. “The death rate is roughly proportional to the case rate as most of the cases are among the unvaccinated and most of the deaths are among the unvaccinated. “

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She said there was nothing ‘at the moment’ to worry about her COVID-19 numbers in British Columbia

“As more and more people get vaccinated, the rate of cases and deaths is expected to drop,” Otto said.

She said what is likely to happen over the next six months to a year are different stages in the decrease in immunity to COVID-19.

If the data shows infections and deaths spiraling out of control again, the public can expect to see periods of reimposed restrictions, she said.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said Tuesday marked the deadline for immunizations for all 126,300 hospital workers in British Columbia, and 4,090 had so far refused.

Of those, seven percent were in Interior Health (1,369) and five percent in Northern Health (376), compared to two percent in the two largest health authorities (Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health).

  1. Horacio Bach, assistant professor of infectious diseases at the University of British Columbia's Faculty of Medicine, said it makes sense to provide reminders to seniors in nursing homes who are most at risk of reinfection. and severe illness, it may be premature to decide to give boosters in the general population.

    Will British Columbia offer everyone the third dose of vaccine? Here’s what we know so far

  2. A health worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

    British Columbia to Begin COVID-19 Booster Injections for Long-Term Care and Assisted Living Residents

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