British Columbians can soon look forward to gatherings, concerts, and family barbecues as the timeline for the large-scale and complex rollout of COVID-19 immunizations in BC was announced.
On January 22, Premier John Horgan, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, Minister of Health Adrian Dix, and the executive lead for BC’s immunization efforts, Penny Ballem, announced details of the next four phases in the BC COVID-19 Immunization Plan.
The plan outlines that approximately 7.4 million doses of vaccines will be administered to every eligible British Columbian by September 2021.
The COVID-19 Immunization Plan’s first phase went underway in December 2020, by first immunizing those most vulnerable—including long-term care residents and the healthcare workers who care for them, as well as remote and at-risk Indigenous communities.
To date, two vaccines—Pfizer and Moderna—have been approved for use by Health Canada. Both require two doses for maximum protection, administered roughly 35 days apart.
Phase 1, which will continue into February, will see more than 103,000 BC residents receive their first dose of the vaccine.
Phase 2 will start in late February, and expend immunizations to additional vulnerable populations, such as Indigenous communities and Elders, healthcare staff, and all seniors over the age of 80.
Phase 3 will start in April. Residents over the age of 60 will be able to receive the vaccine during this time.
The rest of the eligible population—starting with people aged 55 to 59 and working backwards in five-year age increments—will be able to receive the vaccine in Phase 4, which is anticipated to begin in July and go until September. BC will work hard in Phase 4 to make sure that everyone over the age of 18 who wants the vaccine receives it.
Starting in March, pre-registration for the vaccine will open online and by phone for the general public, starting with those aged 75 to 79. Additional details on the registration process as well as availability and immunization clinic locations will be available in the coming weeks.