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B.C. frontline, essential workers may now get COVID-19 shots sooner

Last Updated Mar 1, 2021 at 8:23 pm PDT

Summary

System to book vaccination appointments for Indigenous people, other British Columbians aged 90 and up opens March 8

Seniors aged 85 to 90 can start booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments starting March 15

Booking opens for those aged 80 to 85 on March 22

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vaccinations against COVID-19 could become available for frontline and essential workers earlier, as the province announces dates for when the most senior British Columbians will begin to have access to the shot.

Overwhelming evidence that one dose gives a great response means second shots in B.C. will now be four months from the first instead of 42 days.

“That means we can move everybody up the list. More people will be protected sooner. Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people sooner,” said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Dr. Penny Ballem is heading up the rollout. She says this move frees up tens of thousands of shots that, along with now having AstraZeneca, moves up the September goal.

“It will likely result in by mid to late July we will have been able to give a first dose to everybody in our population,” she said.

Overall the rollout is the same: Priority based on age, working in five-year increments.

A call-in system to book vaccination appointments for Indigenous peoples aged 65 and up and other British Columbians aged 90 and up in most regions will open March 8, with clinics starting to run March 15.

Seniors aged 85 to 90 can start booking on March 15, for vaccinations starting a week later. Booking opens for those aged 80 to 85 open on March 22.

Anyone who misses their age-based dates can still book anytime afterwards.

The province plans to continue to gradually open vaccination clinics to younger British Columbians — opening by five-year increments — but specific dates beyond March have not yet been announced.

With more doses available and the new AstraZeneca vaccine advised for people under 65, the province is thinking frontline and essential workers — including those in high-transmission locations like food production and manufacturing facilities — may be ahead of their age group. Those details are still in the works.

Each health authority will have its own call centre number. A senior can have a family member, friend or support person call on their behalf.

You are advised not to call before your age group’s date, as you will not be able to book yet.

Vancouver Coastal Health (1-877-587-5767):

Richmond, Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver:

  • Call Starting March 8: (Vaccinations starting March 15)
    Year of birth in or before 1931 (seniors 90 years of age and older); year of birth in or before 1956 for Indigenous people (65 years of age and older)
  • Call Starting March 15: (Vaccinations starting March 22)
    Year of birth in or before 1936 (seniors 85 years of age and older); year of birth in or before 1956 for Indigenous people (65 years of age and older)
  • Call Starting March 22: (Vaccinations starting March 29)
    Year of birth in or before 1941 (seniors 80 years of age and older); year of birth in or before 1956 for Indigenous people (65 years of age and older)

Sunshine Coast, Powell River, Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton

  • Call Starting March 8: (Vaccinations starting March 15)
    Year of birth in or before 1941 (seniors 80 years of age and older); year of birth in or before 1956 for Indigenous people (65 years of age and older)

Fraser Health (1-855-755-2455, or book online):

  • Starting Monday, March 8 book for appointments starting March 15: Seniors 90 years of age and older (born in 1931 or earlier), Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) individuals 65 years of age and older and Indigenous Elders (born in 1956 or earlier)
  • Starting Monday, March 15 book for appointments starting March 22: Seniors 85 years of age and older (born in 1936 or earlier)
  • Starting Monday, March 22 book for appointments starting March 29: Seniors 80 years of age and older (born in 1941 or earlier)

 

Interior Health (1-877-740-7747):

  • Call starting on or after Monday, March 8th if:
    You were born in or before 1931 (90+ seniors)
    You are an Aboriginal person born in or before 1956 (65+ Aboriginal seniors)
  • Call starting on or after Monday, March 15th if:
    You were born in or before the year 1936 (85+ seniors)
  • Call on or after Monday, March 22nd if:
    You were born in the year 1941 or earlier (80+ seniors)

Northern Health (1-844-255-7555):

  • March 8, 2021: Seniors born in or before 1931 (90 years+)/Indigenous peoples born in or before 1956 (65 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment.
  • March 15, 2021: Seniors born in or before 1936 (85 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment.
  • March 22, 2021: Seniors born in or before 1941 (80 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment.

 

Island Health (1-833-348-4787):

  • Year of birth in or before 1931 (90+ seniors)
  • Year of birth in or before 1956 for Indigenous people
    • Registration will open March 8
    • Immunizations begin March 15
  • Year of birth in or before 1936 (85+ seniors)
    • Registration will open March 15
    • Immunizations will begin March 22
  • Year of birth in or before 1941 (80+ seniors)
    • Registration will open March 22
    • Immunizations begin March 29

 

The province says a focus on phone booking for older folks while directing others to book online when they are eligible should help avoid booking bottlenecks, as other regions in Canada have seen.

When you book, you will be asked for your first and last name, date of birth, postal code, Personal Health Number, and contact information. You will be given a list of clinics near you, and a call centre agent will then confirm your appointment time and location.


The province is expecting everyone aged 18 and older in B.C. will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of September.

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According to the province, everyone living and working in long-term care has now been offered the vaccine, and they are still in the process of offering the shot to health care workers for COVID-19 patients and those in remote and isolated Indigenous communities.