The state did not advertise spring vaccinations. Only about 10% of people got it.
Most British Columbians will be beefing up their protection against the virus as the province rolls out its COVID-19 vaccination campaign in fall 2023.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that everyone receive the latest coronavirus vaccine for fall 2023, which provides greater protection against the current strain compared to previous vaccines.
The BC Ministry of Health is following this advice.
The number of vaccines a person has received or should receive depends on a person’s age and health.
NACI recommended that everyone receive a first dose (ranging from 2 to 4 doses) and a booster dose in fall 2022. This spring, NACI also recommended that people at high risk for severe disease receive additional booster immunotherapy.
Health Canada lists requirements for the primary vaccination series on its website, broken down by age, immunocompromised status and vaccine type.
In the spring, the British Columbia government sent out invitations to people aged 80 and older, seniors in long-term care facilities, Indigenous people aged 70 and older, and people aged 18 and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. They were invited to make an appointment for the coronavirus vaccine. People over the age of 60 and Indigenous people over the age of 50 who have not yet had the coronavirus are also eligible.
After inviting high-risk people, the Ministry of Health said it has also sent out invitations to book an appointment for the coronavirus vaccine to people who have been vaccinated for six months since their last vaccination. Stated.
The Department of Health told The Tyee in an email that “6 months after the last COVID-19 vaccination,” 91 patients between March 29, 2023 and June 18, 2023. He said he had sent out 4,000 invitations. More than 500,000 spring booster doses were administered between April and October 2023, representing just under 10% of the state’s total.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that NACI recommends vaccination every 6 months. NACI issues vaccine recommendations every six months, recommending that vulnerable populations be vaccinated if at least six months have passed since the last known coronavirus vaccine or infectious disease. I have consistently recommended it. This is different from recommending vaccination every 6 months. This article has been updated to correct the mistake.
British Columbians living in northern British Columbia may not have access to vaccinations until December.
A vaccine-only strategy won’t work
These issues with vaccine access are part of why B.C. shouldn’t rely solely on vaccines to protect people from the pandemic, said Lyne, a former emergency room doctor and member of Protect Our Province BC. Filiatraut says.
PoP BC is a grassroots group of health care workers, health policy experts, and advocates who fall into the COVID-19 sensitive category. They advocate a Swiss cheese defense strategy that uses a combination of masking to protect people from aerosols, improved indoor ventilation, widespread testing, vaccines, and a more aggressive approach to the coronavirus. There is.
“B.C. has adopted a vaccine-only strategy, but the government does not appear to have the capacity to successfully roll out the vaccine,” Filiatraut said. When she was making her own appointment for the fall 2023 vaccine, she said she spoke with multiple pharmacists who told her she was experiencing supply issues.
Filiatraut also criticized the province’s approach to its “vaccination program,” which requires British Columbians to register to receive up-to-date information on vaccination availability and to make appointments. The requirement to self-register results in lower take-up among young people, she said.
Vaccine protection also weakens over time, which is why BCCDC’s latest report shows that deaths from COVID-19 “continue to increase in the 80+ age group,” Filiatraut said. said. [the week of Sept. 24-30]”
The death toll is a “lagging indicator” that the coronavirus is already widespread in the community, Filiatraut said.
When to book your shot
Before you call 1-833-838-2323 or use the state’s online platform to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine, remember the last time you got sick. If you have recently been infected with the coronavirus, it is recommended that you wait several months before receiving the latest vaccine.
“It is unlikely that you will get infected with COVID-19 again within a few months of infection,” the BCCDC said on its website, adding that “you can wait up to three to six months before receiving your next vaccination.” The longer the time between infection and vaccination, the better the immune response. ”
If you currently have COVID-19, HealthLink BC recommends that you feel better before receiving the vaccine.
If you received a text or email notification from your state’s immunization program last year, you should receive another notification this year to let you know when vaccinations are available.
Vaccines will first be distributed to people 65 and older, residents of long-term care facilities, people with underlying health conditions, pregnant women, health care workers and first responders. The province also notes that it is important for Indigenous people to be vaccinated because they are at higher risk of serious illness due to health disparities caused by colonialism.
However, you can always request a reservation by calling 1-833-838-2323.
Get Vaccinated is encouraging people to get their flu and COVID-19 vaccines during the same appointment time to avoid traveling twice.
The Department of Health told The Tyee that coronavirus vaccines are created each year “to match as closely as possible the strains of the virus in circulation.” This is similar to how the annual flu vaccine is made, but the ministry said it is “too early to say whether the COVID-19 vaccine will become an annual vaccine.”
Moderna and Pfizer’s mRNA vaccines, available for rollout in fall 2023, are designed to protect people from the most common XBB.1.5 variant, also known as the “Kraken” variant. The vaccine is no longer the dominant variant in Canada, according to World Health Organization data, but officials say it still offers the best protection against the current strain. These vaccines help reduce the severity of infection, reducing the risk of hospitalization and death, as well as reducing the risk of long-term morbidity from COVID-19. The state says mRNA vaccines offer the best protection of any vaccine available.
In British Columbia, a non-mRNA vaccine known as Novavax is available for people aged 12 and older. However, the latest Novavax vaccine is still under review by Health Canada, according to the BCDCC website. The latest vaccines are expected to be approved later this year.
Filiatraut said B.C. needs to do more testing and reporting of COVID-19 cases. COVID-19 Resources Canada’s virus prediction database predicts that from October 21, 2023 to November 3, 2023, approximately 1 in 14 British Columbians will be infected with the novel coronavirus. I am.
With more testing and reporting, Filiatraut said the state could create a warning system similar to air quality warnings that occur during wildfire season. Instead of suggesting British Columbians stay indoors and avoid exercise, people may choose to wear masks in crowded spaces and limit the amount of time they spend indoors with others as much as possible. You can do it.