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B.C. to give COVID-19 booster doses

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 4:56 PDT, Tue October 26, 2021

B.C. will provide a booster dose to everyone in the next step of its immunization plan, health officials announced today.

The timing of invitations will depend on risk and age (beginning oldest to youngest), with an interval of six to eight months after a person’s second dose. Booster doses will be delivered in clinics run by health authorities as well as participating pharmacies around the province. Walk-ins will not be available for booster shots.

People aged 70-plus, as well as Indigenous Peoples aged 12-plus, will soon be invited to book their booster. Booster doses are underway for other priority groups, including residents of long-term care and assisted living facilities and vulnerable people living in shelters or high-risk congregate settings, and are in use as part of outbreak management.

“When we talk about waning immunity, we’re talking about the amount of antibodies in the blood as well as the ability to protect against infection,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. “It’s not falling off a cliff, it’s a slight decrease over time.”

Dr. Penny Ballem, the head of B.C.’s immunization program, said all booster doses will be mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna), and that they will be used interchangeably.

Health authorities will once again schedule whole-of-community immunization clinics in collaboration with the First Nation Health Authority (FNHA) to provide boosters to rural and remote Indigenous communities. Indigenous Peoples in urban settings will also be offered vaccines through health authority clinics, pharmacies or in their local communities with assistance from FNHA.

Vaccinations for children five to 11 are subject to Health Canada approval and are anticipated to be coming soon. The vaccine program for children ages five to 11 will draw on a separate supply of vaccine designed for children and will be delivered in parallel to the booster program. In the meantime, parents can register their child now in advance at: getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca

Health officials also reported 457 new cases of COVID-19 today, 12 of which are epidemiologically linked. Since the pandemic began, B.C. has recorded 202,973 cases.

Of the new cases, 61 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond), 176 in the Fraser Health region, 55 in the Island Health region, 83 in the Interior Health region, 82 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

There are 4,829 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and 390 of those people are hospitalized, 155 of whom are in intensive care. 

To date, 8,171,136 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C.; 3,918,385 of those are second doses. As of yesterday (Oct. 25), 90,425 third doses have been administered.

This means that 90.1 per cent of adults and 89.6 per cent of people aged 12 and older have received their first dose of a vaccine. In addition, 85.2 per cent of adults and 84.5 per cent of those aged 12 and older have received two doses.

Sadly, there were two new virus-related deaths reported today, bringing that total to 2,131. Of those who died, one lived in the Fraser Health region and one in the Northern Health region.

Health authorities reported one healthcare facility outbreak over. Active outbreaks continue at 17 long-term care facilities, six assisted or independent living facilities and five acute care facilities.

From Oct. 18 to 24, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 64.1 per cent of cases.

From Oct. 11 to 24, they accounted for 76.2 per cent of hospitalizations.

Past week cases (Oct. 18 to 24)—Total 4,181

• Not vaccinated: 2,377 (56.9 per cent)

• Partially vaccinated: 300 (7.2 per cent)

• Fully vaccinated: 1,504 (36.0 per cent)

Past two weeks cases hospitalized (Oct. 11 to 24)—Total 362

• Not vaccinated: 252 (69.6 per cent)

• Partially vaccinated: 24 (6.6 per cent)

• Fully vaccinated: 86 (23.8 per cent)

Past week, cases per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Oct. 18 to 24)

• Not vaccinated: 288.8

• Partially vaccinated: 95.1

• Fully vaccinated: 35.2

Past two weeks, cases hospitalized per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Oct. 11 to 24)

• Not vaccinated: 44.9

• Partially vaccinated: 10.9

• Fully vaccinated: 1.9

For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and to find a testing centre near you: http://www.bccdc.ca/ or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.

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