VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – British Columbians are expected to learn more about the interval between first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines when Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides an update Thursday afternoon.
This comes just two days after the province unveiled its restart plan.
Currently, the time period between first and second doses sits at 16 weeks in B.C. However, Henry said on Tuesday that was going to change.
“We are moving up the second dose for everybody, but particularly for people who are older, people who have immune-compromising conditions, people who are on our clinically extremely vulnerable list,” she said, adding it would happen as soon as more vaccines were received in B.C.
B.C.’s COVID-19 daily case numbers have been on the decline in recent weeks. However, variants of concern are still present in this province as well as across the country.
When asked about variants and their response to vaccines after one dose or two, Henry said all strains are being closely monitored.
“But we also need to know that the measures we take to reduce transmission work against all of these variants of concern, all of the strains that are circulating in our community. So the decreasing case rates and the importance of taking those preventative measures right now, more than ever, continue to be part of the plan, and that’s why we’re going slowly,” Henry explained.
She says two doses gives greater personal protection when it comes to all strains. However, she noted there’s more importance in overall community protection.
“And we’ve shown that for all strains, all transmission, having everybody with a single dose is the most important single factor to get us to reducing community transmission overall. And then we need to boost everybody’s individual protection with a second dose, starting with those who are more likely to have severe illness or death from COVID-19,” Henry added.
B.C.’s four-stage plan to lift restrictions in the coming months is heavily dependent on vaccination rates, as well as daily cases and hospitalization numbers.
The vaccination rates proposed are only based on first doses administered. However, Henry has said the strategy could be adapted as needed.
“If we start to see, for example in the next few weeks, that cases are increasing for some specific reason and we need to get more dose twos in before we move to the next step, then we’ll slow down our process,” she explained.