VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – B.C. has decided to extend the time between first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the interval between the two shots will now be four months.
Citing data from around the world, as well as in B.C., Henry says we are seeing immunity last at least four months after a person is given a first dose of the vaccines. The extension will apply to all three vaccines currently approved in Canada, made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca.
The decision to extend duration between first – second doses to 4 months DBH says came looking at data from around the world (UK, Israel) & here seeing the immunity lasts at least 4 months. Extension is for all three types of vaccine.#bcpoli @NEWS1130
— LizaYuzda (@LizaYuzda) March 1, 2021
“The important thing that we have learned is that these vaccines work, they give a very high level of protection, and that protection lasts for many months,” Henry said on Monday.
“In combination with the new vaccines that we have available, this gives us a very important and very real benefit to everybody here in B.C. That means we can move everybody up the list and more people will be protected sooner,” B.C.’s top doctor added, noting delaying the second shot “provides very high, real-world protection to more people sooner.”
Henry says health officials will be monitoring vaccine effectiveness going forward.
Word of the extension comes as the province unveiled dates for when the most senior British Columbians will begin to have access to the vaccines.
A call-in system to book vaccination appointments for Indigenous peoples aged 65 and up and other British Columbians aged 90 and up 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.
Admitting the challenges restrictions at long-term care homes have had on residents and their families, Henry says the province will be revisiting when restrictions can be decreased “given what we know now about how effective these vaccines are.”
-With files from Frances Yap