With phase one of the province’s vaccine rollout well underway for high priority groups, many have been eagerly awaiting news on when it will be their turn to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Health officials have now released their early immunization schedule for the general public, including all age groups and those with health conditions. So when will it be your turn?
Phase 1: December to February (Currently underway)
Phase 2: February to March
Phase 3: April to June and Phase 4: July to September
No one will “lose” their place in line if they aren’t able to be vaccinated during their phase. And youth under 17 will not be vaccinated because neither of the vaccines currently in use have been approved for children under 17, with exceptions for those with certain medical conditions.
Why the age-based approach?
Increasing age is the single greatest risk factor for severe illness and even death from COVID-19. Therefore, this approach focuses on the high-risk groups first while also increasing protection for people with pre-existing medical conditions, which become more common as people get older.
Vaccine supply could alter timeline
The vaccination timeline hinges on supply – whether additional vaccines are approved, how many are available at any given time, and if there are any further delays in deliveries. Vaccine delivery could speed up or slow down depending on the stability of the supply.
Where can I register?
Public health officials will begin reaching out to seniors and Indigenous communities in February to register. A more comprehensive registration process for the general public will begin mid-March to include how and when you can pre-register, the date you can expect to be vaccinated, and how you can access the vaccination clinics. Registration begins two to four weeks before you are eligible for your first dose, and appointments can booked over the phone or online.
In March, public immunization clinics will be set up in 172 communities across BC to give vaccines in public venues such as stadiums, community halls, and school gyms; mobile clinics in remote areas; and home visits for those homebound and hard to reach.
What happens after my first dose?
After receiving your first dose you’ll be given a paper record showing you’ve been vaccinated and letting you know when to book an appointment for your second dose. Reminders will also be sent out through email, text or via phone, and booking your second appointment can be done the same way as the first.
Anyone vaccinated can also sign up for a personal digital “immunization card.” This card records when you received your doses, which vaccine you received, and what clinic you visited. It will be stored in the Provincial Immunization registry, which can be accessed by the patient, public health, and doctors.
While BC’s vaccination schedule could change, the plan aims to have 4.3 million British Columbians aged 18 and up immunized with two vaccine doses by end of September. For up-to-date information on BC’s vaccination rollout visit the BC Centre for Disease Control’s Vaccine Distribution page and BC government’s COVID-19 Vaccine page.