VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Starting Wednesday, people aged 55 to 65 in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions will be able to book an appointment at one of more than 150 pharmacies to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The move follows new recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization around the AstraZeneca vaccine, advising that provinces only administer it to people aged 55 and older, due to concerns about rare blood clots for people younger than that.
Starting Wednesday, eligible British Columbians can call their local pharmacy to book an appointment to receive the vaccine. Drop-in service may also be offered at some locations.
People must bring their personal health number, which is on the B.C. Services Card or CareCard.
“The AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine is another important tool in our immunization program to get us past this surge of COVID-19 cases. We know from the millions of doses used worldwide, and especially in the U.K., it is highly effective and the benefits to those over age 55 far outweigh the very real risks of getting COVID-19,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer.
Immunize BC is partnering with community pharmacies in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser health regions to provide vaccinations ahead of B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan’s age-based schedule.
“I encourage everyone in the Lower Mainland who is between 55 and 65 years of age to receive their safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine today,” Henry said.
President of the B.C. Pharmacy Association, Annette Robinson, says local pharmacies are ready.
“Pharmacists have done vaccinations since 2009 and safely delivered more than 1 million flu shots to British Columbians this past flu season,” she says.
Dr. Penny Ballem, executive lead of B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Program adds the initial phase will distribute the 300,000 anticipated doses of this vaccine to the whole province.